- Faith & Family
The Black church has been a fixture in the U.S. and our communities since before 1800 — most were formed by the small number of freed Blacks that lived in the colonies. After slavery was abolished, freed Blacks continued to establish separate congregations and church facilities, create their own religious communities and to worship in distinct and often culturally-nuanced ways.
Above all the Black church spoke for and empowered a people who were often treated as less than equal, who suffered day-by-day at the hands of white racists and who worried about their own lives and the lives of their children.
It was the power of the Black church with its moving music, testimony and vocal release of both joy and pain that was witnessed last Saturday morning in the home going celebration of Whitney Houston. It really didn’t matter that the singers may have been Winans or Wonders nor that the voices raised in song were part of an elite, talented group of professionals. Nor did it matter who preached the eulogy. What we saw was the collective beauty that is the Black church — voices shouting utterances to God, hands raised in praise and souls moved in the witness of how one person’s life could leave such an impact on so many others.
America went to church this Saturday — the Black church — and it was one of the most powerful views that this country has ever witnessed. Maybe it will even have the force behind it to help someone else who is struggling to overcome their own demons and pain. Then, as the song goes, my “living will not have been in vain.”