Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

Black Lives Teach

I’ve always believed and taught that you could learn from anyone, even if you had little in common with them. His name was Matthew. He was the custodian for my college dormitory. He was a source of encouragement when students were discouraged, an ever-present source of laughter when one was sad. He good naturedly endured our teasing and taunting. It was a sad day when we were told that he had died. A few of us attended his funeral. In the church’s worship center, we were an obvious corner of white faces in the midst of a seas of black faces. The funeral was a bit different from what we expected. After the service, Matthew’s wife invited us to join the family at her home. The next couple of hours was completely different from what we expected. There was a lot of food, jokes, laughter, dancing, with no sign of grief or sorrow. Noticing our uneasiness, Matthew’s wife said something to us – like, “Relax boys! Enjoy yourself! No use Matthew having all the joy today.” We left wiser than when we arrived, having been exposed to a different culture – white boys learning from a black family. That was less normal in the early 1960s, than in other generations, but needed in every generation. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

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