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Beyond the Suffering Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Hebrews 12:1-3 “So Great a Cloud of Witnesses”. Session Two. Watered with Our Tears: Communal Comfort and Family Faithfulness. Sign Posts from the Past.

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slide1

Beyond the Suffering

Embracing the Legacy of African American

Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

Hebrews 12:1-3

“So Great a Cloud of Witnesses”

slide2

Session Two

Watered with Our Tears:

Communal Comfort and Family Faithfulness

born free
Born Free

“We say that the slavers went to Africa to get the slaves, which is far from true. The slavers went to Africa to get Africans to make them slaves”

(Nikki Giovanni).

james bradley soul destroyers
James Bradley: “Soul-Destroyers”

“I think I was between two and three years old when the soul-destroyers

tore me from my mother’s arms,

somewhere in Africa, far back from the sea.

They carried me a long distance to a ship;

all the way I looked back and cried.”

slide14

Communal Comfort

Human Sustaining/Comfort

Divine Healing/Consolation

equiano bathed in tears
Equiano: Bathed in Tears

“The only comfort we had was in being

in one another’s arms all that night,

and bathing each other with our tears.”

Our hurting friends need our

silence, not our speeches.

encountering every misery for you
Encountering Every Misery For You

“Happy should I have ever esteemed myself

to encounter every misery for you, and to

procure your freedom by the sacrifice of my own!”

Romans 9:2-3—Incarnational Suffering

mingling suffering and sorrows
Mingling Suffering and Sorrows

“Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice? Are the dearest friends and relations still to be parted from each other, and thus prevented from cheering the gloom of slavery with the small comfort of being together, and mingling their sufferings and sorrows?”

The Power of Presence

solomon northrup and eliza
Solomon Northrup and Eliza

“The hope of years was blasted in a moment. From the height of most exulting happiness to the utmost depths of wretchedness, she had that day descended. No wonder that she wept, and filled the pen with wailings and expressions

of heart-rending woe.”

solomon northrup and eliza1
Solomon Northrup and Eliza

“We were thus

learning the history

of each

other’s wretchedness.”

slide23

Communal Comfort

Human Sustaining/Comfort

Divine Healing/Consolation

the ear of jehovah
The Ear of Jehovah

“The deep sounding groans of 1000s,

and the great sadness of

their misery and woe,

are such as can only be distinctly

known to the ear of Jehovah Sabaoth.”

God Hears Our Cries

the intention of jehovah
The Intention of Jehovah

“I may say with Joseph that whatever

evil intentions and bad motives

those insidious robbers had in carrying me

away from my native country and

friends, I trust, was

what the Lord intended for my good.”

God Is God Even When Life Is Bad

the merciful providence of god
The Merciful Providence of God

“I acknowledge the mercies of Providence

in every occurrence of my life”

(Equiano).

Trusting God’s Affectionate Sovereignty

looking for the hand of god
Looking for the Hand of God

“I early accustomed myself to look at the hand

of God in the minutest occurrence, and to

learn from it a lesson of morality and religion.

After all, what makes any event important,

unless by observation we become better

and wiser, and learn ‘to do justly, to love

mercy, and to walk humbly before God!’”

family life five generations beaufort sc

Family Faithfulness:

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Family Life: Five Generations, Beaufort, SC

Family Worship:

Enslaved Christian

Preaching

harriet jacobs it takes a family mother
Harriet Jacobs: It Takes a Family—Mother

“They all spoke kindly of my dead mother,

who had been a slavemerely in name,

butin naturewas noble and womanly.”

harriet jacobs it takes a family brother
Harriet Jacobs: It Takes a Family—Brother

“When he put his arms round my neck,

and looked into my eyes,

as if to read there the troubles

I dared not tell,

I felt that I still had something to love.”

jacobs it takes a family grandmother
Jacobs: It Takes a Family—Grandmother

“I tell you what, Dr. Flint, you ain’t got many years to live, and you’d better be saying your prayers. It will take ‘em all, and more too, to wash the dirt off your soul.”

jacobs it takes a family grandmother1
Jacobs: It Takes a Family—Grandmother

“Yes, I know very well who I am talking to!”

pulling the rope in unison
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 unison1
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 a father s model
Honoring the African American Father:A Father’s Model

“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 a father s model1
Honoring the African American Father:A Father’s Model

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 a father s affection
Honoring the African American Father:A Father’s Affection

“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 a father s affection1
Honoring the African American Father:A Father’s Affection

. . . 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 a father s affection2
Honoring the African American Father:A Father’s Affection

Hardships do not

make it too hard to love!

honoring the african american mother
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.

speaking the truth in love
Speaking the Truth in Love

“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.”

slide46

A Mother’s Wisdom about

the Father of the Fatherless

“When I was a child, my mother used to tell me to

look to Jesus,

and that He who protected the

widow and the fatherless

would take care of me also”

(Peter Randolph).

slide47

Painting Pictures of God

Enslaved African Americans survived by

painting pictures of God onto the

palettes of their life portraits.

They viewed God as the Father of the Fatherless,

the God who collects their tears in His bottle,

and as God the Just Judge.

painting pictures of god onto the palettes of their life portraits
Painting Pictures of God onto the Palettes of Their Life Portraits

“Then I lifted my hands to God.

To the Almighty Father of us all.

I poured forth the supplications of a broken spirit, imploring strength from on high to bear up against the burden of my troubles.”

(Solomon Northrup)

mother wit2
Mother Wit
  • Proverbial Wisdom
    • Found in the Scriptures
    • Cultivated in Community
    • Applied to Daily Life
mother wit3
Mother Wit

“I got Mother Wit instead of an education.

Lots of Colored people in offices and school don’t seem to know what Mother Wit is. Well, it’s like this: I got a wit to teach me what’s wrong. I got a wit to not make me a mischief-maker. I got a wit to keep people’s trusts. No one has to tell me not to tell what they say to me in confidence, for I respect what they say, and I never tell,

I’m glad I had good raisin.”

charlotte brooks mother wit
Charlotte Brooks’ Mother Wit

“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.”

mother wit octavia albert and charlotte brooks
Mother Wit: Octavia Albert and Charlotte Brooks

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.”

slide57

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.’”

slide58

Following the North Star

We Are Never Alone!

Portal of God

Portal of God’s People

Portal of Self

our great a cloud of witnesses
Our Great a Cloud of Witnesses

1. Embracing African American Communal Comfort

2. Embracing African American Divine Consolation

3. Embracing African American Family Empowering

4. Embracing African American Male Mentoring

5. Embracing African American Mother Wit

slide60

Beyond the Suffering

Embracing the Legacy of African American

Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

Hebrews 12:1-3

“So Great a Cloud of Witnesses”