So Great a Cloud of Witnesses Embracing the Multi-cultural Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction Hebrews 12:1-3
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Hebrews 12:1-3—Cloud of Witnesses “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
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Surrounded by World Class Spiritual Witnesses Abraham Noah Daniel
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Surrounded by World Class African American Spiritual Witnesses
“Let us throw off hindrances and sin and let us run with perseverance the race set before us” Entering Historical Hurt Engaging Historical Hope Beyond the Suffering Genesis 16:13
Leaving a Lasting Family Legacy Family Life: Five Generations, Beaufort, SC Family Worship: Christian Slave Preaching
Leaving a Lasting Family Legacy [i] Johnson, God Struck Me Dead, p. 80.
Pulling the Rope in Unison He then explained the object lesson to his young bride. “If we pull in life against each other we shall fail, but if we pull together we shall succeed.”
Pulling the Rope in Unison “If we pull in life against each other we shall fail, but if we pull together we shall succeed.”
Honoring the African American Father “I loved my father. He was such a good man. He was a good carpenter and could do anything. My mother just rejoiced in him. . . . I sometimes think I learned more in my early childhood about how to live than I have learned since.”
Honoring the African American Father All he ever needed to learn, he learned in his enslaved home from a father whose spirit was never enslaved.
Honoring the African American Father “I can testify, from my own painful experience, to the deep and fond affection which the slave cherishes in his heart for his home and its dear ones. . . . (Rev. Thomas Jones)
Honoring the African American Father . . . We have no other tie to link us to the human family, but our fervent love for those who are with us and of us in relations of sympathy and devotedness, in wrongs and wretchedness” (Reverend Thomas Jones of NC).
Honoring the African American Father Hardships do not make it too hard to love!
Honoring the African American Mother Josiah Henson writes of his mother from whom he was separated by slave sale only to be reunited by repurchase after he had fallen ill.
Honoring the African American Mother “She was a good mother to us, a woman of deep piety, anxious above all things to touch our hearts with a sense of religion. Back with her, I was once more with my best friendon earth, and under her care.”
Mother Wit: Octavia Albert and Charlotte Brooks “It was in the fall of 1879 that I met Charlotte Brooks. I have spent hours with her listening to her telling of her sad life of bondage in the cane-fields of Louisiana.”
Mother Wit: Octavia Albert and Charlotte Brooks “I tell you, child, religion is good anywhere—at the plow-handle, at the hoe-handle, anywhere. If you are filled with the love of my Jesus you are happy.” Brooks taught that trials make us God-dependent. “You see, my child, God will take care of his people. He will hear us when we cry. True, we can’t get any thing to eat sometimes, buttrials make us pray more.”
Mother Wit: Octavia Albert and Charlotte Brooks Brooks also taught that the lack of trials can lead to a slackening of faith. “I sometimes think my people don’t pray like they used to in slavery. You know when any child of God gets trouble that’s the time to try their faith. Since freedom it seems my people don’t trust the Lord as they used to. ‘Sin is growing bold, and religion is growing cold.’”
Following the North Star • In your life and ministry, • how could you apply principles from: • Venture Smith: Pulling the Rope in Unison? • 2. Thomas Jones: Hardships Do Not Make It Too • Hard to Love? • 3. Octavia Albert: Listening to Sad Stories? • 4. Charlotte Brooks: Trials Make Us God- • Dependent?
Lemuel Haynes: An Epitaph Worth Living For “Here lies the dust of a poor hell-deserving sinner, who ventured into eternity trusting wholly on the merits of Christ for salvation. . . .
Lemuel Haynes: An Epitaph Worth Living For . . . . In the full belief of the great doctrines he preached while on earth, he invites his children and all who read this, to trust their eternal interest on the same foundation.”
Hebrews 12:2-3Following the Faithful Witness “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:2-3—The Faithful Witness The great cloud of past Christian witnesses ultimately point to the greatest Witness and the greatest reason for enduring suffering— Jesus Christ! The result of earthly witness is to point to the Heavenly Witness so that together we will not grow weary and lose heart. Jesus is the Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5).
Hebrews 12:2-3Following the Faithful Witness Only by fixing our eyes on Jesus can we move beyond the suffering.
Founding Fathers: Daniel Payne Standing his ground and confronting the white authorities on the train, he said to them, “Before I’ll dishonor my manhood by going into that car, stop your train and put me off.”
Founding Fathers: Daniel Payne Payne notes that after he left the train, “The guilty conductor looked out and said, ‘Old man, you can get on the platform at the back of the car.’ I replied only by contemptuous silence.” Payne then carried his own luggage, walking a great distance over “a heavy bed of sand” to his next speaking engagement in the deep South. Payne literally walked the talk.
A Manly Man of God “I was the child of many prayers. My father dedicated me to the service of God before I was born, declaring that if the Lord would give him a son that son should be consecrated to him, and named after the Prophet Daniel.”
Richard Allen: An Artful Soul Physician “Feeling an engagement of mind for your welfare, I address you with an affectionate sympathy, having been a slave, and as desirous of freedom as any of you; yet the bands of bondage were so strong that no way appeared for my release; yet at times a hope arose in my heart that a way would open for it; and when my mind was mercifully visited with the feeling of the love of God, . . .
Richard Allen: An Artful Soul Physician . . . that he would make way for my enlargement; and then these hopes increased, and a confidence arose as a patient waiting was necessary, I was sometimes favored with it, at other times I was very impatient. Then the prospect of liberty almost vanquished away, and I was in darkness and perplexity.”
Following the North Star • In your life and ministry, • how could you apply principles from: • Lemuel Haynes: An Epitaph Worth Living For? • 2. Daniel Alexander Payne: A Manly Man of God? • 3. Rev. Richard Allen: An Artful Soul Physician?
Sisters of the Spirit [i] Ibid., p. 287. [ii] Ibid., p. 288. [iii] Ibid., p. 16.