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By Evangelist Barbara Colbert
2020 struck like a silver bullet attacking the
nation hard and fast, catching us unawares, knocking
us all out of our proverbial “comfort zones.” Political
contentions, racial discord, climate catastrophes, and
terrorist threats, shaked and shattered lives, leaving
multitudes in a state of helplessness, hopelessness,
and even homelessness. A physical and spiritual virus
indiscriminately invaded the land, distressing every
familiar foundation known to man. Birthing a “new
normal” conceived from fear, worry, and desperate
measures to ensure protection and self-preservation,
at any price. As remarkable as having lived through
Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression, or the 9-11
terrorist attack, 2020 has chiseled its scars of
insecurity and a haunting dread of the unknown, in the heart and soul of many for countless generations to come.
2020 sadly witnessed the nation draw its shades, lock its doors, and close its borders. Businesses ceased to operate, unemployment reached record highs, and “contactless” became an everyday word. Face coverings and “six feet apart” became the law, while as a by-product, the cordial handshake, the warm embrace, the affectionate conveyance of a kiss, spontaneously outlawed. Society thrust into economic depression, while the American dream collapsed under the pressure. Behind the scene, spiritual bankruptcy waited in the wings as a potential collateral damage for those who succumbed to the strain, having sadly discovered that no one is immune to the business of calamity and crisis. The “writing on the wall” clearly revealed whether we liked it or not, that we are inevitably vulnerable, and really only human.
Yet, the sun still rises. The winds still blow and the rain still pours. The snow still blankets in icy white and the night still cloaks in moonlit darkness. God said, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” That includes the year 2020 and its mind-boggling legacy. If we take anything whatsoever from 2020, it should be a stinging realization that life is a series of seasons, encompassing and defining our lives, designed for us to navigate, endure, and overcome. While things are intrinsically out of our control, we thank God they are preordained to be only, seasons. That being said, we bid a long-awaited farewell to the year 2020.
Still, just to be sure that we retire that turbulent year with some semblance of an attitude of gratitude, we should also take into account what we gained from the journey. At it’s best, 2020 should have made us stronger, wiser and more dependent on God. Though the road has been rough, God said “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Thus, we should be spiritually compelled to surmise that there is a much greater meaning to the events of 2020, than we can see with the mortal eye. Perhaps the political discord pressed us to take our civic duties more seriously and exercise the human rights with which we have been blessed. Racial injustices that passionately forged a unity between all genders and ethnicities to fight a mutual cause choosing life over death. A menacing plague that fostered cessation from even the most basic human interaction, yet personified the frailty of the created being, urging thousands to their knees to woefully turn to God in prayer for hope and consolation.
The year 2020 has come and gone, and we have survived only by the abounding grace of God. Therefore, as we enter into 2021, let us simultaneously bow our heads and raise our hands in thanksgiving, for yet, the sun still rises.
By Evelyn M. Bingham
SUN COLUMNIST & POET
To kneel is a basic human position of the
body whereby one or both knees rest or touch
the floor or ground.
There are many reasons why people kneel,
genuflect, or take a knee. Perhaps our own very
first remembrance of kneeling, was observed
during a religious setting in a place of worship. In front of an altar, or in a pew as in prayer
during grief, celebration, or worship. In biblical
days, the bible has something to say about
taking a knee.
Genuflecting, to go down on the right knee, has always been a sign of reverence, not disrespect! To Kneel, when the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission. When mentioned by the Psalmists it is an invitation to kneel before the Great Creator, in this case kneeling is a sign of submission, not protest. It has been asked if kneeling is necessary when praying, it is not the posture of the body but the attitude of the heart that counts when we pray, as well as the condition of the soul!
What taking a knee really means today is the raising of awareness of racism and police brutality and insensitivity, and freedom of speech by means of non-verbal peaceful protest, in the hopes of not having our country succumb to the hate and division while hiding under the rock of racism, all while being an informed, peaceful, determined, non violent warrior in solidarity for social justice in our country. Kneeling has also been used as a de-escalating tactic in crowd control during peaceful protests. Kneeling can also be a posture of mourning and sadness as is often expressed on the floor or field when a fellow player is hurt during sports.
Some studies have found that high power people, e.g. The President, or members in power, are more likely to misinterpret non-verbal behavior. The experience of having power, makes us less accurate in reading suffering of the faces of strangers static photos of facial expressions. They are less able to take the perspective of others and are quicker to confuse friendliness with flirtatiousness . This is the empathy deficit of people in power.
The most recent example of taking a knee, was as a result of Colin Rand Kaepernick, an American civil rights activist and football quarterback, now free agent. He played six seasons for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. His career ended, when he knelt during the national anthem, in protest of the many incidents of police brutality and racial inequities in the United States. He was immediately publicly berated by Pres. Donald Trump, as ungrateful, unpatriotic, and disrespectful, referring to Kaepernick, and his fellow teammate Eric Reid as sons of bitches, pressuring team owners to fire them!! Although his career was put on hold and he lost his ability to play, as a result, Kaepernick has become a hero and is very well respected. It speaks to the power of kneeling, genuflecting and taking a knee, when the cause, the intent and the integrity are from a place of sincerity!!