Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Kwanzaa

I'm not African American, actually I'm probably as white as white can be. German ancestry on both sides of my family tree as far as we can trace. I've never really known much about Kwanzaa. Heard of it but didn't know what it was about. I was reading in This Far by Faith: An African American Resource for Worship and came across the following.

"Civil rights activist Maulana Karenga formulated and introduced Kwanzaa in 1966 to encourage African American families to build upon the spiritual strengths of their cultural heritage. On each of the seven days of Kwanzaa—December 26 to January 1—candles are lighted to signify seven foundational principles."

Kwanzaa is a cultural rather than a religious festival but this worship resource relates biblical passages to NGUZO SABA (THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES)

Umoja (unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
There is one body and one Spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Eph 4.4-6).

Kujichagulia (self-determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves instead of being defined, named, created for, and spoken for by others.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people (1 Pet 2.9).

Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our sisters' and brothers' problems our problems and to solve them together.
Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6.2).

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim 5.8).

Nia (purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses ... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Heb 12.1).

Kuumba (creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might (Eccl 9.10).

Imani (faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
This is the victory that conquers the world, our faith (1 Jn 5.4).

God bless our brothers and sisters of African descent.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth; so that, in your good time, every people and nation may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen

No comments: