In our staff meeting today, we were talking about the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration next Monday, January 18. This Sunday, the worship service will contain a message called "The God Who Knows Us" that I have prepared in which I plan to talk about how Dr. King modeled for us how to love our enemies. We also plan to include music in our worship service that comes out of the African American church. Our prayers will also express our concern for the challenges we face regarding racism. As the church of Jesus Christ, we have a rich tradition that comes from many cultures -- both in our nation and throughout the world.
Recently, I've been reading a book I would recommend to all of us called Reading While Black -- African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope. The author of the book, Esau McCaulley, grew up in an evangelical home in Alabama. Presently, he is a priest in the Anglican church and an Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His book is on Christianity Today's list of the best books of 2020.
Among the many things I have gleaned from his book is an expanded understanding of how Christianity's roots go back beyond Europe to include northern Africa from the earliest days. Important church thinkers such as Saint Augustine and Tertullian came from North Africa. Even Jesus spent time in Egypt as a child, when his parents had to flee from King Herod who was intent on killing all the baby boys under the age of two in Jesus' hometown.
Our staff was brainstorming ways to encourage our church family to find ways to do something next Monday that would honor Dr. King's legacy. So, our Reflections this week will not only include our thoughts on the struggles we face in our nation with issues of race and racism -- we also hope to offer some suggestions and resources that our congregation can use as guides, so that each of us can do something that will make a difference in our world. I hope you will discover what God is leading you to do to make a difference as we seek to love our neighbor.