Is. 49:8-15 Jn. 5:17-30
Click here for today’s readings.
When I reflected upon the readings, particularly John 5:17-30, a great sense of appreciation and gratefulness for my family and ancestors who came before me. The words themselves captured me from a historical, role-modeling standpoint. I connected first with Jesus claiming to be the Son of God in which he answered to the Jews “the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.”
The time in which I reflected upon this passage is during Black History Month. Each year, I get very sentimental and emotional as I think more consciously about the struggles and pain endured by black and African people in the United States to secure human rights and opportunities for me… opportunities that they could not fathom during their time. These people loved me so much, without knowledge of my existence, that they fought, died and made life-threatening sacrifices to make me “greater” and others “amazed”. They have modeled for me how to challenge injustice and inequality personally and beyond me…. to serve a greater purpose. Rarely do I feel that I do most things on my own; I’m doing the work of and benefiting from those who laid a foundation for me as a black woman. I try to model them, with only a fraction of their strength and courage, by doing the same for marginalized people after me.
The verse also read, “Whoever does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him.” This is powerful! I thought a lot about the numerous times that I have been “embraced” by those who are different than me because they have a strong belief that “we’re all the same” and they don’t see my “color” or “gender” or “____”. This notion makes them at ease, while I’m on edge. I want to be noticed and revered for what makes me different, intriguing, comfortable, misunderstood, challenged, etc. To not see even my surface erases every memory, challenge, and triumph of those who share my identities and worked so painstakingly to demand the world to take notice. One cannot begin to understand another without crediting one’s cultural narrative. There is a great sense of respect that comes with this… a respect for the past just as much as the present. A respect for the families and communities of the people I admire for shaping them. A respect for the professors who trained my young son’s doctor to give him proper care. A respect for the influencers who guided and directed the many students I support and appreciate to Saint Louis University.
The last line of the verse “…I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me” speaks to the work that I do professionally and personally with young people. One of my many passions is educational access for under-resourced and socially/economically disadvantaged youth. I enjoy working for and supporting those who would not otherwise be afforded opportunities to both pursue and successfully navigate post-secondary education. Keeping along with the themes of oneness, community and respect in my reflection, I truly believe that I am continuing the work of black activists, visionaries and leaders. They laid the groundwork to build up the oppressed and I feel that it is my obligation, as one who is appreciative and forever indebted, to add to its structure. What I do is mission. How I live is purpose.
LaTanya N. Buck
Cross Cultural Center Program Director