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Juneteenth

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  ~ John 8:34-36

Dear Neighbor,

Earlier this week, the federal government of the U.S.A. enacted into law, June 19th as a federal holiday. I grew up in the state of Texas but I did not understand Juneteenth. I knew it to be a celebration that African Americans in our community held but I did not understand the purpose. Later I learned that Juneteenth was a celebration of the freedom of African descendants who were held in slavery.

Juneteenth was first celebrated in Galveston Texas after General Gordan Granger read the general order: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer." (https://juneteenth.com) 

From its origin in Galveston Texas, Juneteenth became a state wide celebration of freedom and has now been adopted federally. I have to say, that I do not understand why there has not been a national holiday celebrating the freeing of slaves until now because freedom from slavery is a really really big deal.

Earlier this month I read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” It is believed by many historians that this book was one of the catalyst that brought on the civil war and the end of slavery in the U.S.A. The main theme of the book was that no matter if the slave owner is kind or harsh, slavery is wrong, but there were many men in the pulpits in America in the 19th century who preached that it was right to own other men.

I cannot relate to being owned by another man but I can relate to being a slave to sin and being made free. John Newton, was a slave in Africa, who became a slave trader, repented and became a Christian, and wrote the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” John Newton understood slavery and saw his salvation as freedom from sin. Let us all celebrate freedom and praise God in Jesus Christ.

Michael Peek
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake

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