On June 19, 1865 General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced that enslaved people were now free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as Juneteenth Day in our country.
Did you know, however, that this was over two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation? Why did it take so long? Read about this and other Juneteenth details at https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/501680/12-things-you-might-not-know-about-juneteenth.
I’m celebrating Juneteenth Day this year by meditating on these verses and taking action: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves … Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:9,10).
Jesus loves everybody. God sent him because God so loves the world. That’s a perfect love. I love everybody, too, but with a sinful, selfish heart that is biased towards me.
So, today I want my love to be less selfish and more sincere. I want to better understand the significance of Juneteenth in the history of our nation, and its meaning in the context of racial tensions today.
I want to listen and learn from my African American neighbors, friends and strangers (who will be my friends). I’ll do that personally. I’m also listening to an insightful conversation between a white pastor and a few black men who are spiritually-minded church leaders—men of God willing to open up and share https://www.facebook.com/stmarcuschurch/videos/279346283447107/?q=st%20marcus%20lutheran%20church&epa=SEARCH_BOX.
Might I better understand what African Americans hate, and hate it with them? I pray it is so. Will I find something in them I didn’t realize before, something very, very good? I’m sure of it. And I need to cling to it, embrace it, and hold onto it.
Being devoted to one another in love means putting aside ego, selfishness and prejudice. It means hurting with empathy when others hurt. It means celebrating when others celebrate.
And God says that from honor like this comes harmony.
PRAYER: Dear God, you perfectly love the whole world, and showed it by sending your Son Jesus. By his forgiving love, heal me and heal our country. Show us the way to honor and to harmony. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend some time this weekend reading about Juneteenth Day, listening to the conversation I shared above, and praying how it can help you move lovingly toward honor and harmony.