June 19, 2020 - Juneteenth

When I woke up this morning I realized that today is June 19, a very important day to Blacks in America. This is a day that we all should give special attention to because of its mark on history. Many Blacks have ignored the significance of the day or simply not understood the importance of Juneteenth. The protesting by thousands of people in America and abroad has shed light on Juneteenth and the Tulsa Massacre. It was so much so that there is now a push to make June 19th a national holiday. There are so many events that transpired in history relative to African Americans that were not shared with us in our history books.   

It was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Carter Bowman, teacher in the D.C. Public Schools and historian at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, who annually brought to our attention events relative this tragedy in history.

Juneteenth is called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and is observed annually on June 19.

In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states free. However it was over two years later that slaves in Texas received the news that they were a free people. On June 19, 1865 the residents of Texas were informed that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and they were also free. These people had remained in slavery for over two years after they had been declared a free people. It was truly a trick of the enemy. It was on June 19, 1865 that Union Soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform the people of Texas that slavery had been abolished. Once the former slaves received this astounding news, they went into prayer, feasting, dancing, singing, etc. It was indeed a joyous time.

Those who have taken to the streets over the last several weeks to protest and demonstrate because of injustices, police reforms, etc., for Blacks, a change is taking place. The protesting is not for naught. I can assure you that many Blacks and others have ignored this very important day throughout history. Take time today to share or participate in some activity relative to Juneteenth. Juneteenth and the Tulsa Massacre have both shattered the fiber of humanity, but both are making a statement in the 21st century. Again, more attention and significance is given to June 19 because of the social unrest and racial injustices presently taking place all over America.  

Recently there have been cases where Blacks have been imprisoned falsely, but are now being released. Just a few days ago some interested parties were trying to figure out how much to pay those released from prison for the time they had served. As one released person stated, "There is no price that can be paid that would be enough to heal the hurt and pain suffered by these individuals. My point is this, it has been over a 150 years and race games are still being played.

There will be all types of celebrations today across America, but I encourage all of us to stay safe by wearing your mask, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands regularly, etc.

As Christians, may we celebrate Juneteenth today, but also our freedom from sin? The apostle Paul writes: "I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:19-23

As slaves of sin, we were headed for death, but God set us free, and gave us life! To God Be the Glory!  

Take time today to celebrate our freedoms.

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor