Its been quite a week! We witnessed the confederate flag being lowered and removed on the state capital grounds in South Carolina. While the confederate flag to some represents pride, in contrary for me it reflected a painful time in the fabric of our nation whereby laws were created and used to maintain the status quo, and degrade the humanity of others simply on the notion of the color of one’s skin. I was blessed to be on vacation and in the comfort of my home to watch the live broadcast of the flag being lowered. I sat in spirit with the ancestors, rejoicing at history unfolding, still troubled by the impetus for the flags’ removal. I reflected upon my grandfather, whom I never had the pleasure to meet as he passed years before my birth, but have been inundated with narratives exemplifying his character and dignity in rural Arkansas amidst Jim Crow. I meditated on the notion that I have been guilty of saying and feeling, “that nothing has changed,” and then I repent, because I realize that while things are not necessarily where we desire, there is undeniable progress that has been made, luxuries afforded, tangible blessings and reward that I did not fight for, yet I am a sacred recipient. Much to my surprise, I’ve been grandfathered in, in more ways than one.
The degradation that my grandfather faced as a sharecropper was difficult; and the manner by which he was treated and regarded as a Black man was humiliating. No matter how hard he and my family toiled, he always came up short according to those to whom he was in debt. Further, when he attempted to vote, he was unable because he didn’t have the money for the poll tax. These are the more gentle stories shared, but for them I am grateful. Due to his sacrifice, and the price he paid, and countless others, I am exempt from more than I can fathom.
Christ’s obedience unto death makes me exempt as well! Exempt from the sting of sin, and spending eternity in hell. In terms of my daily grind, the victory over the the cross serves as the ultimate affirmation that there is nothing we cannot do despite the plans of the enemy. Jesus paid the price on our behalf. His sacrifice grandfathered us at Calvary! As followers and believers of Christ, being grandfathered means that we are not subjected to the wiles of Satan. Although his job is to kill, steal and destroy, Christ came so that we would have life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). This doesn’t mean that we are to sit idly by while the enemy wrecks havoc over our lives and those we love. We are instructed to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). Daily we are confronted with the perpetuation of being sifted as wheat, but we must recall in our spirit wo(man) that we were prayed for, that our faith would fail not (Luke 22:32); and we know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). We should work tirelessly, and committed on our relationship with Christ as my grandfather did in the field.
Its not always easy. Although we serve a loving God, he is also sovereign, and the allowances that occur on his watch are quite frankly not always easily digestible. Pain, suffering, disappointment and sadness coexists with liberty, joy, peace and hope. We must work through prayer, selflessness, praise, worship, encouragement and love. We are instructed to love our neighbor as ourselves, and undoubtedly, that is not an easy task when hate is being spewed upon you. Just when we believe we cannot take life anymore, we may receive assurance through the love that God had for us so much so to the extent that he gave his only begotten son, and that whosoever believeth on Him shall be saved and have everlasting life. Praise God for Jesus! I could never pay the price for my sin. I would come up short every time.
In terms of Calvary, being grandfathered has a slightly distinct connotation. Typically, being grandfathered means that only a select number receive the designation or benefit; but Calvary is different, praise Jesus! There is room at the cross! Salvation is available to all who believe and accept Christ as their personal savior no matter one’s entry point. Salvation wasn’t only extended to our ancestors, but to us who are presently on the battlefield, be it for injustice, survival, violence, criminalization of Black bodies and even the freedom to practice Christianity; it extends to those who come after us and choose to hold up the blood stained banner as well. Until Jesus returns, there is opportunity for anyone interested to be grandfathered in. In the words of my grandfather, for being grandfathered in at Calvary I say to Jesus, much obliged, much obliged!