Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kunta Kinte

Much of what we do today will effect the lives of those generations to come.  We all know this and if we don't we should.  Carbon foot printing is all the rage these days, but what about generational character issue carbon foot printing?  Sydney and I finished a marathon Roots watching this weekend.  She is writing a paper about the influence of Africans in Texas for her history class at school.  Each child is assigned a country to share how each one came to our state, the influence their culture has had on our state and the details of their coming over.  So, including the slave trades was important to discuss with regards to Africa.  Her teacher recommended her to watch Roots.  We rented the entire 12 hours plus Roots a Year Later.   
I remember when it came out and we as a family watched intently as these people and their families came into being and came to touch our hearts through this story.  There have been debates as to whether some of Mr. Haley's facts are completely accurate, but they are accurate in his heart.  The story he told and then shares with millions is one about family, it's about value, character and respect.  We were entrenched in the story and hardly could stop the movie to eat.  We wanted to see what happened next.  Time was erased, work found time to wait and silence was golden as we sat watching this story unfold before our eyes and in our hearts.  
What is the carbon footprint I am leaving generationally speaking for those coming after me? How am I preparing the way for them?  How am I setting things up to bless and not to curse? Generations will reap what I sow good and bad.  The decisions I choose today will effect the lives of my descendants for generations to come.  It was a good reminder of a lesson I know well and a great show to revisit if you are looking for a marathon movie type experience.
One of the experiences that happened to Alex Haley as he revisited his tribe in Africa once they realized he was a descendant, was a type of laying on of hands.  This tribe was muslim in origin yet Alex Haley is a Christian.  What it showed me with this expression of laying on of hands was how generationally, stories, even religions, can take some facts of one, add on to those facts and adopt them into tradition.  Mr. Haley said they encircled around him singing and dancing as they passed baby after baby for him to hold, to press their skin up against his. It was like they were saying without words, "You are flesh of our flesh and our flesh is a part of your flesh".  It was powerful to say the least and one story he tells to his children and grandchildren. Knowing where you come from is almost as important as knowing where you are going.  The things we come to learn from our past can propel us into our future.  They can also keep us stuck in our past if we allow them. Staying stuck in a fear is a generational chain that must be broken in order to acquire freedom. Spiritual freedom as well as physical freedom was the case for Kunta, but what it teaches us is that it can be obtained through perseverance, forgiveness, love and faith.  He never relented, never stop telling his stories of Africa, never stopped trying to be free to the point where they cut off his foot.  As the movie went on the story he told was repeated over and over.  The story became one we were familiar with and we could repeat it by the end of the movie.  
Just as we are to write His Word upon our hearts, 2 Cor. 3:2-3 "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts".  When we write His precepts, His love, His commandments on our hearts they are there forever.  It is up to us to spread the news of the gospel and to "Go ye into all the world and spread the good news".  We are to keep His story alive in us in order to keep the story alive through us.  We may not know the time, or place or the ear upon which the Word will fall, but we can rest assure that He hears us and that is all that matters.  He will see to the details, He will see to the rest if we do our part in the storytelling.  Telling our stories of what God has done in and through our lives for others to hear, should not and is not a way of boasting in ourselves, but a way to boast in the things of God.  I am always amazed at His power through His Word and the healing that takes place for those who are ready to listen.  Freedom awaits those who have ears to hear.  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what the Lord has prepared, but by His Spirit He will reveal, His plans for those who love Him".

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