Sunday, June 19 – “Living Juneteenth”
View this recorded version of Sunday Worship from June 19, 2022.
Bible verses: Psalm 43, Galatians 3:23-29
Reflection: “Living Juneteenth”
Excerpts from the sermon by Rev. Paula Sohl:
“The traditional African American songs we are enjoying today come from the depths of the struggle of enslaved Americans in our tragic history.
They are not unlike the Psalmist crying out this morning: ‘Why must I walk about more fully because the enemy oppresses me? Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from those who are deceitful and unjust, deliver me.’
W. E. B. Du Bois acknowledged that the Black Church was born in the African forest. ‘The horrors the ancestors endured through the middle passage, and then, as chattel slaves cause them to dig deeply into the wellspring of their African traditions to survive. The spirituals they developed were how they reflected on what it meant to find themselves in captivity–and what it meant about God. Theological thinking about the meaning of black suffering.’
What are some of the spiritual that come to your mind? The ones that come to me first of all are “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” and “I’m a poor wayfaring stranger.”
Juneteenth began to be celebrated in 1865 when people in Galveston, Texas, were the last to receive the news that all slaves were to be freed.
It was already two months after General Lee had surrendered at Appomattox and fully two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.
Nevertheless, this day is for celebrating black liberation. This year, 2022, marks the year that the U.S. has been an independent nation for as many years as slavery existed on its soil. From 1619 to 1865 (246 years) and from 1776 to 2022, [the same].”