Dear St. Lukers,
“3 years is a long time.” This is a response uttered by many upon hearing the details that accompany learning about Juneteenth for the first time. The Holiday commemorates the ending of chattel slavery in the United States 3 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. On June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and spread the news that the Civil War was over and all enslaved persons were to be freed.
This year marks the 155th celebration of Juneteenth. And though this holiday was celebrated for years before things like the phonograph (1877), the microphone (1877), or even the lightbulb (patented in 1879), it has only recently gained wide-spread recognition. When awareness of different ways of life and culture come to our attention we are presented with an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to make the walls that separate us fewer and the bridges that connect us longer. The more we make room for understanding in our lives, the more of it we’ll find.
In the spirit of understand and community I invite you to Learning Together: Juneteenth. This will be a special video event where St. Lukers will learn and engage in conversation about Juneteenth and the ideal of freedom. This event will premiere on Facebook live this Saturday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m.
In the video Reggie Pryor – long time St. Luker and percussionist in the worship band – ponders what things must have filled the hearts and minds of so many newly freed people. He imagined that they must have asked themselves what happens next? “Do I go search for family that has been taken away or do I start working to establish a life for myself where I am?” He reflects on how freedom, through having an unspeakable burden lifted, must have also presented new challenges.
We’ll also find newness at the heart of this week’s message. Pastor Jad will lead us in worship as we conclude our “Lessons Learned” sermon series, where we’ve been taking a look at what we’ve gleaned in the last year and a half according to the results of our “Coming Back Home” Survey. Pastor Jad will guide us as we observe 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 and explore what it looks like to be open to new seasons. Meditate on these words from the 17th verse as you prepare your heart for worship. “So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!”