Take a few minutes to push the “pause” button on whatever is going on around you and be still with God.
Psalm 17 (NRSV)
Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
As for what others do, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
Rise up, O LORD, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
from mortals—by your hand, O LORD—
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
Have you ever been treated unjustly? Have you ever been made to feel that you were not worthy? Some people are made to feel this way every day.
As we celebrate Black History Month, I am reminded of those—not just in our country, but around the world—who have been oppressed. I may have felt that I was treated unjustly or made to feel unworthy at some point, but I have no personal knowledge of being oppressed. The faith of those who have been or are oppressed must be incredibly strong. Faith is a key element in the survival of oppression. Through faith in God, we find the hope necessary to hold on even when we cannot see light at the end of the tunnel. Those individuals in history who stood up for what was right or worked for the rights of others must have often prayed as David once did in the psalm.
Today, as you celebrate the diversity of individuals who have contributed to making everyone’s life better, take a moment to give thanks for the faith and hope that allowed them to become all they could be.
God, thank you for all of those that have gone before us to help close the doors on oppression. Thank you for giving them the faith and hope to lift their voices and speak out against injustice. Help us all to find the voices we need to help others. Amen
Go with God.