Good morning brothers and sisters. Please see yesterday’s message below:
When I woke up this morning, my mind was concentrating on Juneteenth, but my heart was bleeding because of so much violence in this country. With all the celebrations going on right within our nation’s capital, violence once again struck home. It is bad enough that violence and shootings have become household words, but it has a tremendous negative impact when something for good takes place for Blacks. The question today is when will we stop killing each other?
With that being said, I decided to allot some time to doing a little research on Juneteenth. It is suggested that we take time to share with our children and family members this historical event. To be honest with you, I never heard of Juneteenth until I began pastoring at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in 2000. The historian, Brother Carter Bowman, would bring to the congregation’s attention during June that we needed to commemorate the significance of June 19lth. Please take time to share this very important event with our children, for they will not be taught about it in school.
It all began on June19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia. A Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War was over. Just imagine, approximately two and a half years had gone by since the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, and no one told us. It was kept hush, hush for over two years that we were free. Let that resonate in your mind for a moment, for if no one had revealed the good news, we would have probably remained in slavery even longer. The African American slaves had been declared free in 1863, but the slaves in Galveston, Texas were not informed until two years later.
We can now celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday due to President Joe Biden signing legislation on June 17, 2021. It was a remarkable feeling on Monday, June 20, 2022 hearing about the many celebrations across the United States.
When we reflect on slavery, our minds most always go back to the exodus experience in the book of Exodus 3:7,9: “Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings.” When the Israelites were finally free, they grumbled and complained because of the hardships they were already experiencing before crossing the Red Sea. Let’s not be too hard on the Hebrews, for they had no clue what the future held for them. What they did know was that their God had shown them his power and brought them out of bondage.
Think about it for a moment. African Americans had been in slavery for 400 years, and suddenly they become a free people. What a day of celebration it must have been, but on the other hand, what a day of anguish for so many. I am sure the questions: “Where do we go and what do we do was in their minds?” They possibly didn’t have anything of their own other than the filthy clothes on their backs. Landowners had made the slave totally dependent on them. In most cases, we were prohibited from learning how to read and write.
Historian Hayes Turner tells of a case where a former slave named Katie Darling continued working for her mistress for another six years. Darling said, “She whipped me after the war just (jist) like she did before (fore).
Satan has attempted to do the same thing. He has tried to keep us in the bondage of sin, even though we are free. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ signed our Emancipation Proclamation, and declared us a free people. Satan does everything in his power to keep it a secret. Wake up my brothers and sisters, because of Jesus Christ, we are free.
It is my hope that the holiday will cause us to ponder and remember how far as a people we have come. Let us not get caught up in the cookouts, parades, etc., and not place emphasis on why we are celebrating.
It is also my hope and prayer that we begin to acknowledge and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. For He has heard our cry!
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert E. Slade, Pastor