Today is Juneteenth, which by now most of you have at least heard about. Juneteenth commemorates the day that formal orders were read in Texas to emancipate all slaves. It was the last slave state to receive those orders after the ending of the Civil War earlier that spring.
While the day was commemorated regionally in the years after the war, it grew to be much more widely celebrated as the “end of slavery”. While the true end took longer to play out, Juneteenth stands today as an important milestone in the road toward freedom and justice for all.
As I was reading and learning about Juneteenth, a couple of things stood out to me. First, I was never taught this in school (or at least it is not something I remember learning). It was never reinforced in my community growing up. I’ve never been to a celebration, and even as an adult, I remember very little being said about this day in years past. It was a reminder to me that my education is limited, and undoubtedly suffered from the same kind of bias that infects so many other aspects of our world. I have much work to do when it comes to learning.
Secondly, it was a reminder that the journey towards justice is one that was talked about in scripture, was struggled for 150+ years ago in Texas, and continues to unfold today. It is not enough to learn, but to also do our part in realizing God’s vision of justice and peace for all people.
Today, I invite you to do something to commemorate the day. Maybe it is an act of learning. I found this page helpful and informative. In addition to learning, there are several ways to celebrate around town, including a Justice March this afternoon at 1pm (image from Action St. Louis).
Whatever you do today, I hope you take a moment to remember that the work of freedom, of justice, and of equality is not just the struggle of some. It is not just a “social” or “political” issue. As people of God seeking after the Kingdom of God, this struggle is also a spiritual mandate. The work is ours; it is yours by virtue of your commitment to Jesus. So today, as we commemorate, celebrate, and struggle, may we continue to ask God “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
P.S.. Thursday June 25th The Gathering is doing something we haven’t done in a while…we are gathering! We are having a night of live music and worship in the parking lot at McCausland. We have two times to participate, 5:30 and 7:30 pm. We will have music, a short message, gifts for you, and a chance to see one another face to face. We will be social distancing so you must registerfor one of the times. Space is limited, so I encourage you to register now right here. As always, worship will be online this Sunday and I will be finishing our series Reset. I can’t wait to see you online this weekend, and next Thursday in the parking lot.