Juneteenth is a jubilant celebration – and a sacred lament

On Sunday, the faithful will commemorate and celebrate June 19 during their worship. Throughout the day there will be colorful parades, coast-to-coast music festivals, tours of historic sites, large gatherings within local communities, team sports and many barbecues.

However, many will start the day with a long-standing tradition: worship.

These lyrics, from “The contraband song: O Let My People Go“, will have special significance during this Sunday’s services as they echo the spirit of the holiday. It is a biblical story about Israel’s experience – from Egyptian slavery to their exodus. enslaved identified with the story.Generations later, this hymn is still sung to remember what it was like to be a slave and to continue to seek equality and justice.

“Gospel music has indeed been a comfort to the black community,” says gospel singer Tye Tribettwhich occurs at Juneteenth Unityfest 2022 Sunday event. “His power to harness the capacity of hope, aspiration and faith to provide courage in the face of fear during the most difficult times in our culture is part of our heritage and that of music. ”

Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News


The Galveston County Daily News

Congregants celebrate Juneteenth at Reedy Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Galveston, Texas on Sunday, June 19, 2016, after the annual march from the Old Galveston County Courthouse.

In Galveston, Texas— Juneteenth’s birthplace — loyal to Reedy Chapel AME Church will begin their service at 11 a.m. and end the day with a march for freedom. It was one of the places where the slaves heard these words, from General Ordinance, No. 3, the original ordinance of June 19, 1865: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation of the executive branch of the United States, all slaves are free. …”

June 19 is also called Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day and Freedom Day. This is the latest novelty federal holidaysince the introduction of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Because it falls on “The Lord’s Day”, pastors will share a special message with their congregation.

Bishop TD Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas says that to protect this nation’s heritage, we must recognize and learn from the past.

“Although the origin of the June 19 commemorations begins in Texas, it is essential that we all remember that when freedom and justice are delayed or denied, it causes traumatic repercussions for future generations,” he says.

Jakes adds, “…as we collectively pause to recognize and learn from the belated freedoms of our nation’s ancestors, we must not allow these same systems to repeat injustices.”

In San Francisco, worshipers at Grace Cathedral will celebrate and mourn during their service. Actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith will deliver his morning message.

“His deep knowledge and narrative accounts of the school-to-prison pipeline, and his grounded Episcopal faith, will guide us in the emancipation work of today. We call it Ending Slavery For Good. , ensuring that no one is subjected to slavery, even if punishment for a crime…”, says the Reverend Canon Anna E. Rossi.

Reverend Joshua Lawrence Lazardassociate pastor of the Alliance Church, a predominantly white congregation in Boston, plans to take the title of his sermon from the book by James Baldwin, You think so or you don’t.

“I will remind listeners that Christians have a duty to manifest the themes of liberation and freedom,” Lazard said. “Our faith demands that we be active in restoring and redressing the wrongs that flowed from the original sin of America’s slavery…”

Historians say many American institutions played a role in justifying slavery and white supremacy – including the Christian church, which used the Bible to justify the enslavement of African Americans.

In the documentary, Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom Christian apologist Lisa Fields says it doesn’t surprise her that the first institution the emancipated people of Galveston legally established was a church. Fields says “they believed God set them free” – not Abraham Lincoln or their slave masters.

It is reminiscent of another popular hymn that could be heard on Sunday, June 16 – “We Have Come This Far by Faith”, written by Albert A. Goodson:

To know more about this subject

White Awake: an honest look at what it means to be whiteby Daniel Hill

Redisciplining the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity by David Swanson

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, by Jemar Tisby

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliationby Latasha Morrison

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in Americaby Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith

25 Black Theologians Who Made Our Faith Grow in Christianity today

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