A Psalm to my Ancestors – Rev. Kwame Pitts; Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Holland, IL

Invariably, in the lives of virtually every Christian of African descent, there comes a time where you have to reflect upon the ways that white supremacy have made their mark on you – all the…

Source: A Psalm to my Ancestors – Rev. Kwame Pitts; Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Holland, IL

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A Psalm to my Ancestors – Rev. Kwame Pitts; Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Holland, IL

Pierre Bourdieu interprets and defines of habitus eludes to “a deeply buried structure that shapes peoples dispositions to act in such ways that they wind up accepting the dominance of others or of the system”. This clearly plays out especially through faith and spirituality, in that most colonized/formerly enslaved peoples in North America have taken on what is considered truth that was forcibly fed to them from white Christian slave owners to white Christian colonizers and missionaries. James Baldwin eludes to culture as “not a community basket weaving project, nor yet an act of God; being nothing more or less than the recorded and visible effects on a body of people of the vicissutes which they have been forced to deal with” and this is key to beginning the conversation of resistance.

Incorporating our organic way of celebrating and worshiping the Creator IS the beginning of liberation and resistance.

Sharing my words and thoughts, as I offered through Dr. Linda Thomas’s blog: We Talk, We Listen.

We Talk. We Listen.

ThomasLinda sittingInvariably, in the lives of virtually every Christian of African descent, there comes a time where you have to reflect upon the ways that white supremacy have made their mark on you – all the more so if you are a pastor. In our second post celebrating African Descent History month, this week’s author, Rev. Kwame Pitts (LSTC, 2015), shares some of her own powerful journey in her inimitable poetic style – and how she mines the richness and vitality of her African spiritual roots in her work as a Christian and Lutheran pastor. Read, comment, and share!

Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas – Professor of Theology and Anthropology, Chair of LSTC’s Diversity Committee, Editor – “We Talk. We Listen.”


“By re-recognizing a pagan understanding of our origins and the dynamics of culture, cultivation and worship and by returning to a connection with our roots and origins, we might begin to reestablish…

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Salt. Light. Disrupting.Marching. Prophetic Movement

“Blessed are you when people revile you

and persecute you

and utter all kinds of evil against you

falsely on my account”

for you are the salt of the earth

(pause)

They,

Were the salt of the earth.

How often have we heard that common phrase invoked

As we are remembering those who have been in our lives

Elders,

Ancestors

Whose sometimes larger than life presence

Kept us in awe

And seemingly too,

The significant piece of Fabric in communities

Which couldn’t have even thrived

Without these sisters and brothers,

Who were the salt of the earth.

(pause)

Many of you never met

Our sister in Christ,

Barbara Richmond

She was homebound,

Disabled

Unable to join us here at Redeemer,

So we brought Church to her.

As I met with her family for the first time last week,

Preparing for a celebration of her life,

It was clear

The stories that were shared with me,

Because of her graciousness

Her openness

Her love,

She was indeed,

The salt of the earth

To those she had touched,

And now,

As they mourned

It was apparent

That life

Seemingly didn’t have that same zest

(pause)

George,

Doris

Omar-

Each of our siblings in Christ

In their own way

Were indeed

The salt of the earth,

Through their perseverance

In the places they were called

Through their dedication

To their families-

Through their faith,

As they served and extended God’s Peace,

In this sacred space

And yes,

I am sure if you ask anyone

Who was honored to call them

Mother

Brother

Friend,

Life seemingly

Has lost a bit of flavor

With their absence

(pause)

What does it mean to be

The salt of the earth?

It means,

Just

Doing

It.

Just being the embodiment,

Of how Jesus Christ has impacted our life

The prophetic witness

Of not being afraid,

To speak truth

Of what the Gospel calls us to

A living testament

Of how the Holy Spirit

Disturbs

Invokes

Provokes us,

To action

Action

To help those who are oppressed

To find their voice

To shine LIGHT

On the injustice

And guiding those who have been wrongly accused

To freedom.

It is a cry against the unjust empire

And always present,

Shining a LIGHT

Of Hope

(pause)

Jesus,

Continues to push against the boundaries,

In our Gospel this morning

That the status quo spelled out to the common people

Using the ancient laws,

God’s Word

For tearing down,

And exposing one’s iniquities

That because they somehow incurred God’s wrath,

Because of the sins of their ancestors

And were subjected to a life of servitude

Of slavery.

But Jesus utters words of hope

“Blessed are YOU…”

And reminds those who felt lost

They are the salt of the earth.

(pause)

Jesus

Does not hide who He is,

Nor will He shrink

From the shadows of oppression

Jesus,

Uplifts those

Whose wounds are visible,

Whose listlessness continues to fester

Shaking them from the complicity

Of just sitting on the sidelines

Of believing the lies,

That they should just conform,

That they should not challenge

Reminding them

That they are the light of the world,

And that light must be seen,

Guiding those who have been missing,

Or those whose very spirit,

Has gone dormant.

The LIGHT

Cannot

Be

Hidden

(pause)

Jesus’s words,

Empower us today, beloved

That we are the salt of the earth.

We have a purpose

A mission

We cannot allow others to dictate to us

Who we are,

And how we live out our lives,

And this call,

This goes beyond the ordinary,

Of just receiving God’s Grace,

Of coming to the Table,

And being Fed.

Let me ask you a question-

Do you know who you are?

Do you revel in your saltiness?

Or do you think

That you have nothing to offer,

That no one will miss the essence

That is you

Do you believe at how your LIGHT

Illuminates brightly

Into someone’s life

Who needs to know,

That they are not alone?

Or

Do you hesitate?

That this may not be the right time to shine,

Or not even proper for us

To stand out

To speak out

To be

OUT

THERE

VISIBLE

As

Children of the Most High!

Why should we be afraid?

(pause)

We claim

To admire

Martin Luther

And if we do that,

Then-

Martin cared not

About how his saltiness

Caught those in power

Off guard

Or that his light

Blinded those who were delving in the darkness

Of injustice.

So why don’t we follow his example?

And be bold?

(pause)

Following Jesus means,

We are going to be salty,

If being salty means that who that we are irritates

Those who are attempting to break the bonds of the beloved community

Away from the Creator God,

Well,

Guess then,

We are following what Jesus Calls us to

Following Jesus means,

We should burn brightly,

That we blind those,

Who have chosen to keep the shades drawn

And attempt to block out the LIGHT of GOD,

Then well,

We are committed then,

To refusing to hide our Light

That we are NOT ASHAMED

Of how we are Called

(pause)

Because who we are

DOES make a difference

So what if our neighbors,

Or friends,

Or family

Don’t agree with how we share the Good News,

How vocal,

How public we feel moved,

To not only walk with the

Outcast

The Samaritan woman

The leper

The refugee

The ex-felon

The homeless youth

But to publicly shine our LIGHTS

Into that darkness,

Where those who would rather

Tyrannize

Dominate

Repress

Are festering

Lurking

Plotting

For the destruction,

Of God’s Beloved people

You

And

Me.

(pause)

We have to remember,

On what we stand on

God’s WORD

We must remember,

That Baptism is more than some ritualized action

We are given a candle,

And charged

With letting our light shine.

Do you believe

In Jesus

And all of His Promises

And His Word

And His POWER?

And His Peace?

(pause)

Then go,

Be THAT disruptive,

Salty

Child

Of

God.

Thanks Be to God