Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Inspired from study of Acts 8:4-8
Pain... torture... mutilation... psychological abuse, social programming, and all the worst bits of all the worst nightmares... for 400 years. Enduring through the heinous realities of the middle passage, running through the dark night of slavery only to escape into the injustices of Jim Crow and the socioeconomic stratification of gentrification that followed all the while having to create an entirely new cultural identity and traditional foundation out of the ashes of the birth, dissemination and maintenance of “racism” is a heritage that can only describe one group of people on the planet. This “race”, comes from the fictional posit that the melanin content of an individual is somehow inextricably tied to intelligence, strength, critical thinking, aggression, and a myriad of other qualities meant to further propagate several untrue social ideologies that have become a concrete mis-truth that only part of the world actively fights to break up.
However, as dark and cold the night from which we emerged was, we are still able to stand in the dawn of this new day. Even more poignant, we have become new creatures, undoubtedly the result of having our past cultures and memories stripped from us and being forced to recreate ourselves with the separate and unequal tools of a new world that seems as if it would rather see us dead than credit us for possibly being the single greatest determining factor to this country's wealth and privileged way of life. We are black. Well... not really. Our skin is brown, our blood is red, and our hearts are socially irrelevant. The only thing “black” about us is the knowledge of who we were before we were kidnapped from our homeland, tribes, original culture, language, and history. All stolen from us as we were super-imposed on a culture that actively fought (and arguably, still fights) to keep us in the dark place of this... blackness. But there is a flip side to such a gruesome reality. We are still here and perhaps are the most emulated peoples on the planet. For from the ashes of segregation and racism was born a culture that has affected every corner of the globe in nearly every aspect of living, and testifies to a reality which ought to encourage our melanin endowed or deprived brothers and sisters across the globe; that, no matter the trial, independent of our enemy who oppresses us and the hand that may rise against us, our God and our brothers will be with us until the former removes us from the grotesqueries of this broken world and truly calls us home.
Such a beautiful truth would never have been expressed without first seeing the tragedies and triumphs of our bloody and unjust past, and I think that is a great parallel to introduce our target passage as God presented it to me. Sometimes to get something beautiful, God will allow something ugly to occur, and, as beautiful as the Spirit falling on the day of Pentecost was, God's desire to spread the salvation of Jesus Christ to the corners of the world required the persecution of His children to scatter them to places they may have never gone on their own. One cataclysmic event, Stephen's martyrdom, sparked an active crusade against the church that caused the spreading of God's word to be spread “every where” [8:4], even Samaria. One of the most hated groups of people by the Jews because of the historical context in which that city (an it's country, Israel) was founded.
So, to conclude, I would like to take a saying from an old friend, “Bad ain't always bad.” The God that created everything and said it was good is the same God that authors purpose in your life, and, though it may not always feel good, look good, or even smell good, in this moment, know that God's purpose for all things is ultimately good and, out of your oppression, affliction and even crucifixion (if you will submit to it) is a good and perfect revelation of God's will for you and every other creature in the world.