Celebrating Black History Month: Daring to Love
By Michael A. Lanier
CIU Student Writer
The Columbia International University students, faculty and staff began the month of February commemorating Black History Month with a series of Chapel messages demonstrating that God loves all people, and so should His followers.
The first of two speakers was Pastor Napoleon Bradford of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter, South Carolina, who delivered a two-part message on daring to love the way Christ did, in a culture that would rather not show love toward others.
“Seek out those persons who harm you, who stifle the love you have for them, and love them today,” said Bradford in his message. “Do it for them, not for you.”
The CIU family also heard from Pastor James Dixon, a member of the CIU Board of Trustees, and pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, who challenged the CIU family to live in love, just as Christ did.
“We've got to always be concerned about the brothers and sisters who are a part of the body of Christ,” said Dixon from the pulpit of Shortess Chapel.
The chapel services were also filled with songs from the genre of African-American churches, which was new to some CIU international students.
“As an international student who was not familiar with African-American culture before I came to the U.S., I truly enjoyed the opportunity to become a part of it during Black History Week,” said sophomore Vlad Hruntkovskyi, a student from Ukraine.
“I love the fact that we can embrace our differences and be united in the Lord to worship him using all aspects of our rich and deep cultures,” Hruntkovskyi added. “Black history week helped me realize what an amazing Lord we serve, that he accepts thankfulness and praise with no restriction to its style.”
As Pastors Bradford and Dixon spoke on love, many students said they felt its uniting power as they sang in worship together.
"I admired the passion both speakers had for the Word of God,” said sophomore Abdoul Balla, an African student, who added, “and even more their love for Jesus Christ!”
Listen to the podcasts of Black History Month speakers here.
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