Saint John's Lutheran Church 155 North Street Jersey City NJ 07307
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In Christ there is no east or west...There is north or south. These are familiar lyrics, no doubt inspired by Paul’s statements from Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. In January and February, with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and Black History Month we have good reasons to focus on the history of African Americans in the United States. As we consider how that history has played out inside and outside of the Christian church, we have to recognized that even with the steady movement for and the clear declarations of equality, too often our churches have remained segregated.
Many American Christians have hoped and even boldly flown the banners of equality. Still we must accept that, as church and as a nation, we have a long way to go. It seems we make some strides and yet progress is daunted by the less than fair treatment of black people in the justice system, housing practice and employment.
It is still a hallmark, when Black movies and actors receive notoriety. Institutions like the Academy of Arts and Sciences, that decide who will receive top awards are still struggling with diversity and standards that would further equal representation. The wins we get to celebrate for work like Black Panther, Green Book, are Black Klansmen are still ‘firsts’, because like so many American institutions and systems, the Academy’s practices are still catching up with the hard-fought gains of civil rights and racial tolerance.
I was invited, as guest speaker in the context of Black History month, to Grace Van Vorst Episcopal Church. It gave me the opportunity to speak on some of these issues as they relate to Gospel. I share the audio recording of that sermon here. Happy Black History Month!
Pastor Mona Fitch-Elliott