This coming Sunday Corbin’s grandmother, Ruth Dudlay, is coming to tell us stories about the Underground Railway with special Underground Railway quilts, actual slave irons, and other historical relics from the time of slavery in North America.
Why tell old stories, and for that matter, why religiously read and study an ancient book like the Bible? Old stories tell us who we are. Where we came from and where we are headed. It is significant that the ancient stories of the Israelite slavery were cherished by the North American African slaves. Because of these ancient stories, slaves over 3,000 years later had hope that like the Israelite slaves they would be liberated by God! It was reading the stories in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus that caused William Wilberforce to petition the British Empire (and its colonies of Canada) to abolish slavery.
The story of Exodus describes an enslaved oppressed people rising up from captivity and escaping through the desert to return to their nomadic ancestors burial lands in Canaan. If you believe this story, the Exodus is one of the most significant moments of history without parallel. Slavery has been a part of human civilization for time untold and continues to be practiced today. Throughout history many slave revolts have occurred, however they usually end with all of the revolting being killed (for instance Spartacus and his slave rebellion against Rome). That the tribe of Hebrew slaves were able to leave Egypt, the most powerful empire in the world, and survive wandering through the desert is a powerful story that has inspired many oppressed peoples throughout history.
Stories are told in many ways to help us remember them (As a musical in the case of the above mentioned Spartacus). As we discussed last week, the liberation from slavery was remembered in the ritual of the Passover feast. The Underground Railway quilts are another way of remembering God’s liberation of people from slavery. I hope you are able to come this Sunday to see them for yourself!