Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery around 1797. She had at least 10 siblings whom she knew only from stories told by her mother. The slaveholder had sold off all the other children, except for Isabella and her younger brother. In 1828, after having been sold herself and later escaping, Isabella was emancipated and moved to New York City. After living there for a decade, she experienced a call from the Spirit of God to travel and lecture. She desired a new name that would reflect her new vocation. Saying that she had left everything behind and wasn’t going to keep anything of Egypt on her, she went to the Lord and asked for a new name. She says, “And the Lord gave me Sojourner because I was to travel up and down the land, showing people their sins, and being a sign unto them. Afterward I told the Lord I wanted another name, because everybody had two names; and the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare truth to the people.” And Sojourner Truth became a fiery preacher, abolitionist, and proponent of women’s rights. Her faith in God literally brought her a new name and a calling to do God’s work, even in a wilderness of slavery and darkness where it must have been tempting to give up. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, she heard God’s call and devoted herself to God’s work.
During this Lenten season, we have invited you to consider what commitments you might make to show love in tangible ways to God and others. The cross covered in hearts near the organ includes some of the commitments made by our members, but as Holy Week grows even closer, I wonder how we are doing. Are we making and following through on our commitments to recognize God’s call in our lives and follow through on the daily opportunities God gives us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves?
I urge you to make time during the remaining weeks of this season to reflect further on the example of Jesus who gave His own life. Let us prayerfully consider what we are willing to sacrifice to become more faithful. As we are reminded that Jesus held nothing back, may we spend time examining our hearts and asking God to help us see what we are holding back from God.