March 11, 2015

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

Tied into Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month this month are additions to two national park sites.

Harriet Tubman, the former slave who became a leader in the abolitionist movement, is already honored at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in locations around Cambridge, Maryland. Recent Congressional action adds upstate New York settings—her former residence and related properties in Auburn and Fleming—combining both settings under the title of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

In New Jersey, Paterson’s Great Falls National Historical Park (about which I wrote a post in 2009) now will include Hinchliffe Stadium, one of three remaining ballparks where Negro League baseball was played. Hinchliffe was the home of the New York Black Yankees and the New York Cubans. Larry Doby, the first black to play in the American League (and who lived near me in New Jersey), was among those who took the field there, as was pitching great Satchel Paige. The National Trust for Historic Preservation put Hinchliffe on its endangered landmarks list in 2010, so the push to save it for posterity had become urgent.

Interestingly, the inclusion of the deteriorating stadium stirred up a bit of controversy. Before the vote in the Senate. Then-Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma tweeted a photo of the graffiti-marked ballpark with the caption, “The House just voted to add this to our National Park System….Does it have historical significance? Yes. Should it be part of the National Park Service? Absolutely not.”

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez countered by showing pictures of Paterson residents cleaning up the stadium, and the resulting clean walls. Quoted in an article by North Jersey Media, Menendez said, “I believe strongly that the story of our fight against institutionalized segregation is a story worth telling.”

The apostle Peter urges those who follow Christ to tell the most hopeful story of all—not “cleverly devised tales” but the truth written down by those who were “eyewitness of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16-19). That message is encapsulated in one of the most beloved and quoted verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

We who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus have been appointed ambassadors to spread the word of that reconciliation between God and His finest creation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20), and to remain committed to telling the most fantastic, life-changing narrative of all!

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, because I know ‘tis true;

It satisfies my longing as nothing else can do.


I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory,

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.



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