Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Remembering Ash Wednesday as We Prepare for the Season of Lent
I know many people who were looking forward to a break, and they were equally excited about spending it in New Orleans. The music, food and carnival associated with Mardi Gras are legendary, and the students of today are as interested in experiencing this cultural event with the same enthusiasm and excitement of previous generation. As a University Chaplain, I’ve expressed my reservations about their decision to attend the event, but, given the magnetic pull that the festival has on creative imaginations, my ten minute conversations with them are primarily limited to safely issue and the religious significance of the event. The Carnival Season has come to an end, and Ash Wednesday began on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. In a previous year, I heard a student say: “Yeah Dean, I’m going to have as much fun as I can because Lent is right around the corner, and I won’t able to do anything.” I reminded him that it was possible to have fun and refrain from sin, but more importantly, I was pleased to see that he remembered that Ash Wednesday was a scared day because it marks the beginning of a new Christian season in preparation for remembering that blessed Easter morning.
Many churches continue to recognize the significance of Ash Wednesday by holding morning or evening worship services. Several years ago, I remember attending a worship service during which the pastor the church used ashes to paint a cross on my forehead. Historically, the ashes were made from the unused and burnt palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Ash Wednesday denotes a time of penance in which we ask forgiveness from God for the sins that we have committed by omission or commission. As the first day in the season of Lent, it marks the beginning of a spiritual season of fasting, praying and reflecting on the meaning of Easter for our daily lives. Ash Wednesday unites us with church all over the world, and it affords us the opportunity to become closer to Christ by placing the symbol of the cross on our foreheads. I agree with Paul who said in Romans 1:16, Paul says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” As we prepare to enter the season of Lent, let us remembers the historical and spiritual significance of Ash Wednesday. If our schedules will not afford us the opportunity to have a cross of ashes painted on our foreheads, let us hold fast to the cross of redemption in our hearts and we pause to consider the great price that Jesus paid for us. Amen.
Posted on 02/14/2018 8:55 PM by Dean Jason Curry
Thursday, 8 February 2018
We invite you to Bread for the Word Sunday on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 9:00a.m.
Bread for the World is a collective, Christian voice which urges members of Congress to end poverty and hunger in America and throughout the world. The Fisk Memorial Chapel has partnered with this non-partisan organization throughout the course of several years. Bread for the World seeks to put a “circle of protection” around poor and hungry people by lobbying members of Congress to support legislation which is aimed at helping to end poverty and hunger. Bread for the Word Sunday will be held this Sunday, February 11, 2018. Service will begin at 9:00a.m. Minister David Street, the Interim Co-Director of Grassroots Organizing, will be our speaker. Also, we will have a special musical performance by Mr. Khrys Hatch ’18. Please see the attached flyer or the screenshot below. Brunch will follow service. We hope that your schedule will afford you the opportunity to attend this service. Thank you. Dean Curry
Posted on 02/08/2018 7:24 PM by Dean Jason Curry
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Through the Blood of the Righteous: Remembering African-American Martyrs
Black History Month is indeed a time in which we pause to celebrate the tremendous, unprecedented and unparalleled achievements of African-Americans who are alive as well as those who have moved on from labor to reward. Throughout the month of February, we both recognize and celebrate the achievements of people of African-Americans such as Venus Williams in the arena of athletics, Oprah Winfrey in the field of business, former President Barack Obama in politics, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole in education, Roberta Flack in music, Paul Roberson in acting and a host of other people of African descent in various areas. History declares that they worked incessantly to maximize the human potential that God provided them, and in doing so, they have inspired generations of people of all ethnicities who reside in the United States as well as abroad. To be sure, the accomplishments of the African-American that we celebrate this month, in particular, and throughout the year, in general, are rooted in the tremendous sacrifices made by African-Americans and others in this country and abroad. For example, we remain indebted to Fannie Lou Hamer for helping African-American exercise their right to vote and to François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture for resisting European imperialism in Haiti. We stand today on their shoulders. We are, however, unable to pay adequate homage to those to have achieved and sacrificed so much to promote African-American progress without remembering those who endured the ultimate sacrifice for our collective well-being. During the month of February, we remember those who were killed seeking to improve the lives of Black people throughout the world such as Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz), the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Patrice Lumumba, Stephen Bantu Biko, Harry and Harriette Moore, the Reverend George Lee, and Fred Hampton.
Biblical scholars have informed us that most of Jesus 12 disciples were martyred. The Christian faith that we now embrace was propelled throughout history through the “ink” (e.g., the printing press and scribes who copied by the bible by hand) and blood of the martyrs. In Matthew 23:29, Jesus eloquently captured how many prophets, who spoke truth to power, were viewed once they were gone. In this passage of scripture, Jesus said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.” In short, people who were once hated as agitators are now recognized as contributors to society.
It is important to keep the memory of those who were martyred alive. It is also important to remember their legacy by becoming champions of justice, beacon lights of hope and change-agents that seek to promote democracy and a life-sustaining environment worldwide.
Posted on 02/06/2018 1:41 PM by Dean Jason Curry