Juneteenth and the Gospel

Juneteenth FlagToday is Juneteenth – the day that celebrates the announcement of emancipation to the slaves of Texas on June 19, 1865. I’ve always liked Juneteenth for what it meant in American history and also the analogy it provides for the gospel.

The slaves in Texas had legally been emancipated on January 1, 1863, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all slaves in states in insurrection against the U.S. government. Since a great war was taking place at the time, however, those slaves did not hear about – and the U.S. government was unable to enforce – the Proclamation until Texas was militarily defeated and government forces arrived to occupy Galvestion in June 1865.

Therein lies the analogy for the gospel: humanity was emancipated from sin and death 2,000 years ago when the Son of the Father destroyed death by his resurrection and took humanity into the life of the Trinity through his ascension. But like the slaves of Texas, much of humanity has not yet heard or believed the good news of their liberation. Like the slaves of Texas, we are already free but we are not yet fully living in that freedom.

The Diocese that I’m a part of has a slogan: Walk in the Way, Widen the Walls, Wake up the World. I think that last phrase is a perfect description of the Church’s calling: as the Union army awakened the slaves of Texas to the freedom that already belonged to them, so we are called to wake up the world to the freedom that is already theirs in Christ.

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. dbdweeb on

    Very nice connection. Now I’m celebrating Juneteenth too. Thanks.

  2. Bill Winn on

    “Faith is like the eye, it does not create what it sees but rather discovers what is already there.” loosely quoted from Martin Luther Great stuff!

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