Dear Faith Friends,

The three flights and 30 hours of travel that got us from Athens to Washington, DC, weren’t as bad as we expected.  We were thankful for that because it meant that we could really enjoy the time with at the Shipman reunion.

Every year, for 27 years, my husband’s children and grandchildren have been gathering at North Myrtle Beach, SC, on Father’s Day.  My sabbatical threw all of that off this year, as we would be in Greece during June.  One daughter had the inspired idea of using this opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  All tickets are timed entry now and we had to plan four months in advance, but it was worth it.

The history section begins by taking you down an elevator, back in time to the 1400’s when enslavement of African peoples and slave trade in Europe and the Americas began. Slowly we walked up through the history of oppression, dehumanization, cruelty, greed, resistance, overcoming, confession and persistence that is the story of America and the story of African-Americans.  It was moving, filled with shame and pride.

The story is still unfolding, of course.  I am grateful to our Sunday school class that has tackled “Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race”, by Debbie Irving.  The need for knowledge of history, self-understanding and radical openness to the other is so important for those of us in the majority if there is to be hope for our nation.  I believe that, as Christians, we accept a greater responsibility for changing our society.

To be honest, my husband initially resisted moving the gathering to DC.  In the end, he said it was entirely worthwhile.  To quote Gene: “I found out you are never too old to try something new.”

Our country, our culture is not too old to try something new.  We can live into God’s vision of justice for all and restoration of those who have been wronged.  We are never too old to keep walking on into community and blessing.

Blessings on the journey,

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:13

PS. The museum shop was already closed when I emerged from the exhibit.  I settled for a postcard that allows you to write your legislator about any bill up for vote.  That seemed like a good reminder that we are called to be citizens who are participating in politics to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

Preview words are from the Black National Anthem, by James Weldon Johnson, Presbytery Hymnal, no. 563