A Theology of Remembrance
“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
There is a seam of truth from the scriptures that compels us to remember the past and honor the bridges of struggle of those that gave themselves to give us life. Indeed, one cannot be wholly present without the root of remembrance to direct and govern their consciousness. In application of these truths, we offer “Maafa Remembrance 2000″ as memorial to the suffering and deaths of countless African men, women and children in the holocaust of the transatlantic African slave trade of the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. With this memorial we carry forth the memory of their humanity into a new millennium and proclaim their personhood as gone but not forgotten.
“Maafa Remembrance 2000″ not only acknowledges their humanity, but the memorial acknowledges their loss to humanity, and declares that we can neither be whole, or healed, or reconciled without their remembrance as a part of our consciousness. In a very real sense, our present is incompletely lived until we properly grieve our African kinsfolk who were abducted and enslaved and perished without ritual of remembrance, nor proper burial, nor formal acknowledgement of their humanity. We offer this memorial in connectedness with the communion symbols of our religious tradition and spiritual heritage.”Maafa Remembrance 2000″ is offered from ourselves, for ourselves, for the healing of our spirits, twenty-first century work of reconciliation in the Americas. In this offering we ask, how could there be true movement toward reconciliation without acknowledgement of and repair for the continuum of the African Maafa? We submit this offering of remembrance as a contribution to the discourse in making the case that justice and reparation are necessary precedents to healing and reconciliation. As a Christian people, these premises of truth are the core values of our religious heritage.
In the night, He faced the horrors of His arrest and crucifixion, our Lord shared a meal that became for His followers a ritual of remembrance of His suffering and death. Human wholeness and spiritual holiness are grounded in passionate and vigilant keeping of this ritual of remembrance by believers. Believers must ever remain mindful that their blessing of healing and reconciliation was offered through suffering and crucifixion. To remember the suffering and death that gave birth to our life is to remain gratefully whole and whole enough to serve with the mind and heart of Christ Jesus. In remembrance of Him, our Crucified Savior, and of them, the Maafa Slaughtered, we stand ready to serve humanity and to give because we have already received.
As the New Mount Pilgrim Church family, we offer “Maafa Remembrance 2000″ as our Christmas gift to the world for healing and reconciliation. A special thanks to Mr. Tom Feelings for giving all of us a glimpse into the souls of the slaughtered and hopes of the survivors. Thank you Rev. Dr. Jesse L. Jackson for your mentoring of the new generation of Christian prophets charged with the ministry of “Keeping Hope Alive”. For this cause, we commit to co-labor. Indeed, in this work together we redeem the suffering of Maafa and acknowledge the divine purposes present in our survival. “Millions didn’t make it, but I was one of the ones who did!”
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Marshall E. Hatch
December 5, 2000
Note: Conceived in the spring of 1999 while on Sabbatical and attending Harvard Divinity School as a