Young, Gifted, and Black – Focus Scripture: Psalm 37:25 (NRSV)
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
In 1972, Aretha Franklin reminded people of African descent in America that we are “young, gifted, and black,” despite the messages that had been lashed into our backs, hung around our necks, and burned into our consciousness for centuries. The thought of that painful historical journey sometimes gives me pause. At the same time, it makes me look back in wonder at how we survived the struggle.
Through my wanderings and soul-searching over the years, I have come to realize there is something divine in all of us. We possess sacred gifts we can press into service to break chains, climb ladders, and seize freedom. We maintain the ability to reach back and support our brothers and sisters as they climb the same mountains we scaled by the grace of God. We can love each other, and in many cases that makes all the difference.
Life has taught me that the struggle will continue. But if we stick together and remember from whence we came, we’ll get to our destination eventually. Aretha declared it through her soulful rhythm and blues. Her message still rings true and has theological undertones. Don’t forget, not even for a second, that we are daughters and sons of the Most High God. He has not abandoned his children, and God’s steadfast love will endure forever.
Sustaining God, thank you for your faithfulness on this tedious journey. Thank you for helping us live out our potential as your children in the face of tremendous odds. And thank you for loving us forever. Amen.