“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” -Proverbs 29:18
The fifth day of Kwanzaa is all about purpose. The official Kwanzaa statement on purpose has a lot to do with finding out how one can use his or her strengths and abilities to contribute to his or her community and to the world at large. It is a good idea to take stock of what you are passionate about, good at, and enjoy doing. When you use your skills and interests to help solve community issues, you are stepping into your “purpose,” in terms of being a productive and proactive member of society.
There is another layer of purpose that moves from the individual and toward Black people in the United States as a whole. What is our purpose here? Are we – as a group – fulfilling that purpose? This layer can be tricky, as it is totally up to opinion and interpretation and can be muddled with all sorts of different experiences and ideas of what it means to be Black in America. I don’t know that various people groups have “vision statements,” but I often think it would be interesting to see what the world would be like if every group of people in it strived for a particular ideal. And if that were the case, what would the Black ideal be?
Dr. Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, is an atheist and the celebration of Kwanzaa is/can be totally free of religion if that’s what the celebrants prefer. But Kwanzaa can also be personalized so, because my family are followers of Christ, there is another layer to the issue of purpose.
It’s fine to have our individual and national/ethnic purposes, as long as they don’t override our ultimate purpose which, I believe, is the glorification of Jesus Christ. As I consider the principle of purpose in the context of Kwanzaa, I also have to ask myself whether I am fulfilling my first and most important purpose – becoming more and more like Jesus.
So what kinds of activities can we participate in on this fifth day of Kwanzaa?
–Talk with family and friends about purpose! What does it mean in your context? What can you be doing to fulfill it? What can you be doing to help others fulfill their purposes?
–Create/update your goals! Try to include family and community building activities as goals, also.
–Create a new prayer rule! Orthodox Christians have a practice of creating prayer rules (specific prayers that they pray at specific times). Your prayer rule can be anything, as long as it helps you to focus on your spiritual growth/purposes.
Stay tuned for day 6 of Kwanzaa tomorrow!