Black History Month is a time of remembering the specific struggles of African Americans that began with the enslavement of Africans, captured and brought to the United States, and their journey since. It is an invitation to all preachers, of every color, to heighten awareness and to preach a gospel of love and not hate, as we all seek to renew creation. As opposed to merely recalling the historical significance of individual African Americans, one might consider an individual experience that heightened his or her own sensitivity to the struggles and work of African American people. Perhaps a teacher, a pastor, or a national figure inspired you. Narrative preaching, from personal experience, can often be a great tool to build community and raise awareness. Today's text runs a literary theme of "have you not heard?" and "have you not seen?" This is also how conversation is often started in the grocery stores, church gathering places, shopping centers..."have you heard...did you hear?" Could God not be calling community to initiate conversation one with another? Have we not heard, have we not seen what God is doing? God is doing a marvelous thing with all of creation!
Our guest writer for the Season after Epiphany is Rev. Dr. B. Kevin Smalls. Dr. Smalls is a native of Washington D.C., and an elder in full connection with the Baltimore-Washington Conference. He currently serves as the senior pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Michigan.
Dr. Smalls holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Claflin University, a Master of Divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center, and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary, where he focused on postmodern preaching to contemporary audiences with an emphasis on hip hop culture. During his twenty years in service to the United Methodist Church, Dr. Smalls has served in a variety of appointments. He is the founder of the Young Adult Christian Cafe and the Off the Hook Bible Study. He is an author who has published a book and a number of articles in periodicals, and he is a contributor to the Africana Worship Book.
Dr. Smalls is married to Lisa Karen Smalls. They share parenting responsibilities for their six children. We are pleased to share Dr. Smalls’s unique voice, poetry, and insights into the Scriptures with the wider church during this season.