While celebrating Black History Month, I was reminded of Exodus 19:4, when God instructed Moses to remind the Israelites how they were liberated from Lewisoppression. God said tell them “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4 NIV). This scripture is a powerful testament to being lifted in liberating consciousness. We are not only celebrating black people, we are celebrating the liberating consciousness of us all to succeed despite what may appear to be incredible odds against us. This is the time to remember that we always stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. This is the time to pay tribute to their success with the faith that we have the power to be equally successful.
Last Sunday, we were carried on eagles’ wings as we studied the Ten Commandments. When examined metaphysically, the Ten Commandments are not simply a list of rules for our conduct but are a guide for greater wisdom and exalted manifestation. Therefore, in commemoration of Black History Month, we celebrate a historical figure whose contributions represent the divine nature of each commandment.
In other words, you must put the “I AM that I AM” – Spirit – first, and you will be raised to a higher plane where the source, power and strength that you need will flow easily to you and take you as high as you desire. We may see the appearances of challenges, but they are only stepping stones to strengthen us as we reach our goals. When we put Spirit first, the universe conspires to help us.
Coleman was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas and was one of 13 children. She was illiterate for most of her childhood because she had to leave school to pick cotton, and after that she took in laundry. But through it all she educated herself and managed to graduate from high school. Despite her humble background, Spirit always put it in her heart to learn to fly, so when she became a manicurist, it is not surprising that a client encouraged her to respond to her calling. In the early 1900’s, however, none of the flying schools would accept her. But Spirit blessed her to study flying abroad. Bessie Coleman not only learned to fly, she became a celebrated acrobatic pilot.
The Second Commandment is “You shall not worship false idols.”
God is Absolute Good, a principle from which there may be no deviation, demanding our exclusive devotion. Whenever we give power to anything but God (e.g., our jobs, our relationships, our challenges, our old stories), we turn it into an idol. But Spirit is the only source there is. Our prosperity comes through people but not from them. When we deviate from true source we give our power to the illusion of good instead of the unlimited supply that is always available to us.
LEWIS LATIMER, who was born in 1848 to runaway slaves, could have worshipped the false idols of despair, drudgery and danger as a free black man in a country that held his people captive but instead he thrived on the gifts that God had given him.
Latimer became an artist and then a draftsman who worked in the US Patent Office, eventually becoming the head draftsman. He invented the first safety elevator and the first train bathroom but is best known for his filament to the light bulb. He worked with Thomas Edison. Edison created the bulb, but Latimer created the filament in the bulb so that they last longer and are cheaper and more efficient. Generations have benefited from the power that Spirit shined within him – literally and figuratively.
Since the Kingdom of God is in us, we have to be careful about what we say to ourselves. What are you calling yourself? Are you saying that you are anything less than the image and likeness that Spirit is expressing as you? We have the power to speak any truth we want into existence, so we have to watch what we are telling ourselves.
DR. PATRICIA BATH’s life as a surgeon teaches us how to speak words of empowerment to ourselves.
Dr. Bath was excluded from mainstream medical schools and societies but was blessed to be educated at Howard University Medical School. She was later offered professorships in ophthalmology at UCLA and Drew, but the academy did not support her or respect her. She was given an office at UCLA in the basement next to the lab animals. Realizing the power within, she refused to be obstructed by the academic glass ceiling and studied abroad in Paris. Dr. Bath said that in France, she was finally liberated from the toxic sexist and racist environments in this country. We are blessed that she was liberated because she created the cataract laser probe to remove cataracts – and she also invented an instrument that could restore eyesight to people who had been blind for as much as 30 years.
The Fourth Commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
The Sabbath is not a specific day; the Sabbath means rest. Genesis teaches that God created the universe in six cycles of activity and on the seventh day, God rested. We don’t need to be busy in the flesh to accomplish what must be done in the Spirit. Many great ideas come after we have rested. The good thing about resting is that Spirit is always working.
What better person to exemplify rest than SARAH E. GOODE, born in slavery, the first African-American woman to be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for inventing a folding cabinet bed in 1885.
Those of us who live in New York City can really appreciate her desire to give us rest while economizing space. When the bed was not being used, it could also serve as a roll-top desk, complete with compartments for stationery and other writing supplies.
The Fifth Commandment is “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
While we have to honor those who parent us, in Matthew 23:9, Jesus says, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” We are spiritual beings clothed in physical bodies; our biological parents are just the channels that Spirit uses to bring us into the world. When the Holy Spirit is present, our parents are there. Therefore, our ultimate guide is God.
Scientist DR. JAMES WEST exemplifies the need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit even when our parents in the flesh disagree.
Dr. West’s parents wanted him to become a physician because the black men that they knew who had degrees in chemistry and physics worked at the post office. Fortunately, he didn’t listen to them and got a degree in physics in 1957. He went on to work for Bell Labs, developing the foil electret microphone, an inexpensive, compact device that is now used in 90 percent of all contemporary microphones telephones, tape recorders, camcorders, baby monitors and hearing aids. Bell is owner of over 250 patents and became a professor at John Hopkins.
The Sixth Commandment is “Thou shall not kill.”
This commandment not only refers to killing in the flesh, it also pertains to killing in the Spirit. Thou shall not kill means that you will not undermine; you will not diminish; you will not ignore the real lifeblood in yourself, which is the Kingdom of God within us, a miracle-working power.
BENJAMIN BANNEKER exemplifies this commandment. He was born in 1731, the son of a former slave who enlightened George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many others on the importance of the lifeblood in all Africans in this country – free or enslaved.
When Banneker first saw a watch as a boy, he took it apart and put it back together again. He taught himself math and astronomy – and was able to depict solar eclipse, sunrises and sunsets. He spoke out against slavery and against Jefferson’s “absurd and false ideas” that black people are inferior. Banneker urged him to recognize that “one Universal Father…afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties.” In 1792, Banneker developed his first almanac. President Washington later commissioned L’Enfant to do the layout for the capital after Washington decided to move the Capital from Philadelphia; Banneker assisted the French developer. When L’Enfant resigned and returned to France – taking his work with him, Washington thought the country had to start all over again. But Banneker reproduced the entire layout from memory in two days. Our ancestors teach us that there is so much do when we do not kill the Spirit in us with disbelief.
The Seventh Commandment is “thou shall not commit adultery.”
In the flesh, this is about cheating on someone else; in the Spirit, it is about cheating on ourselves. We have to be committed to be true to ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves about what is most important to us. Anything less than complete honesty is adultery.
Spiritual leader and Shaker community founder REBECCA COX JACKSON exemplifies the need to be true to oneself.
Born in 1795 in Pennsylvania, Ms. Jackson divorced her husband because he refused to teach her to read and write. But she took comfort in the inner voice that told her “the time shall come when you can write.” Sometime later, following her inner voice, she picked up her Bible and began to pray. To her surprise, Rebecca discovered that suddenly she could read — taught by the Holy Spirit. Her husband didn’t approve of her ministry but she was obedient to Spirit and left him, eventually serving s founder of a black Shaker community in Philadelphia.
The 8th commandment is “You shall not steal.”
While we might attempt to take something that does not belong to us in the fleshly or material world, the truth is that we cannot succeed in taking anything that is not rightfully ours. We cannot take good away from anyone and no one can take our good from us.
Despite years of celebrating Robert Peary as the first person to step foot on the North Pole, it was later revealed that Henson – a black man – was the first person to discover it. As a boy, Henson was so poor that he did not have shoes and had to use his brother’s knife to cut a wool blanket into squares that he wrapped around his feet as make-shift shoes, so it is prophetic that one day he would take the first step into new territory. As a young man, Henson walked from Baltimore to Washington, DC to get work on a ship where he learned literature, math and navigation. After working as U.S. Lt. Robert Peary’s valet, they began to explore together making several trips to Greenland. Henson made the sledges for the sleds that he and Peary used in their expedition. In 1909, however, Peary got all the credit for taking the first step on the North Pole when he actually did not find it until after Henson did. In 1954, the nation finally took notice of Henson’s accomplishment when President Eisenhower awarded him a medal. No one and nothing – not even an entire society of people – can take our good from us.
The Ninth Commandment is “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
Our neighbors are whoever is closest to us, like our thoughts. This means we have to be true to the divine within, never undermining our power or the power of anyone else.
Dr. Carruthers built his first telescope at the age of 10. He earned his Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the University of Illinois in 1964 and began working at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. His telescope and image converter was used to identify molecular hydrogen in space and his ultraviolet camera/spectograph was used by on April 21, 1972, during the first lunar walk of the Apollo 16 mission. For the first time, scientists were able to examine the Earth’s atmosphere for concentrations of pollutants, and see UV images of more than 550 stars, nebulae and galaxies. Carruthers was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work on the project. In the 1980s, one of Carruthers’ inventions captured an ultraviolet image of Halley’s Comet. In 1991, he invented a camera that was used in the Space Shuttle Mission. Carruthers shows us that loving our neighbors begins within and without – not only on earth but as far as other galaxies. Even the sky is not the limit.
The Tenth Commandment says “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
God’s good is so inexhaustible that we don’t have to covet what anyone else has because we are all blessed. God supplies all our needs. We can stop dwelling in a consciousness of limitation because there is a power in us that attracts what we need before we even ask. We don’t have to worry about what someone else does because to do so only undermines the power and purpose and magnitude of our own life.
Born in Kentucky on March 4, 1877, Morgan began his career as a sewing-machine mechanic and went on to patent several inventions, including an improved sewing machine, a driving clutch, a hair-straightening product, and a respiratory device that would later provide the blueprint for WWI gas masks. Rather than worry about problems, Morgan focused on solutions. The solution he is best known for is the traffic light – that he developed after witnessing an accident at a busy intersection.
If we just take a moment and examine our lives and the lives of those who have walked before us, we see the living manifestation of what God said: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”
In Exodus, the Egyptians symbolized the limitation of material wealth, and the Israelites symbolize the ascension of spiritual consciousness. In today’s world, those who hate are destructive thoughts and those who love are higher thoughts. The only way that this planet will be transformed into the Promised Land is when we are all lifted above the appearances of limitations and help each soar on eagles’ wings to the victory of a new day.