History was made Tuesday when Barack H. Obama took the oath of office with his left hand on a Lincoln Bible held by his wife, Michelle. The world watched. Standing on the West Front of the Capitol as the first black sworn in as president, many reacted with emotion. As my 10 year son and I watched the Inauguration coverage as part of our history lesson, he asked me why some people were crying. Aaron heard again how it used to be for black people in America. I remember as a preschool kid going to a store with my mother in Birmingham, Al. It was so curious to me that there were two water drinking fountains with signs above them just a few feet apart. I asked my mom what the signs said. Her reply: One sign says “white” and the other says “colored.” My next question: “Why?” She answered: “The store has one fountain for white people to drink out of and one fountain for black people.” Even as a small child I thought that was ludicrous and as soon as she turned her back I drank out of the fountain for black people. Yeah, I was a little sassy back then. And yes, this is a true story!
Several years later as a young middle school kid, I was in an after school girls club at my church. Each week I looked forward to the club of girls. We would listen to Bible stories, pray for missionaries around the world and have snacks. As the Lord continued to develop my heart for non-Believers I began to invite friends to our club. One day I was so excited to have an unchurched friend attend with me. During the snack time our adult leader pulled me aside and said DuAnne, it’s okay that you brought your classmate with you to club today but don’t bring her back. Our church is white and she needs to go to a black church. I left the club and never returned. The irony of praying for those without Christ and then turning them away could not be resolved in my mind that day. And it still can’t.
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nations. Revelation 5:9