Today is Juneteenth, a day of Jubilee, remembering June 19, 1865 “the day Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas announcing the Civil War was over, and released a quarter-million slaves in Texas who, not knowing they had been freed, had toiled for two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation” Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns.
In our social-media-infused world, where you can easily learn what was happening 15 minutes ago in Cairo or London or Minneapolis or Wuhan, it’s hard to imagine the Emancipation Proclamation taking that long to reach Galveston, Texas. I’m guessing the delay was not due to a lack of adequate transportation of the news but rather the painstakingly slow way in which freedom for black men and women in our country has long been delayed. And as Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, “justice delayed is justice denied.”
May the words from the hymn below be a prayer for freedom today, freedom for all.
Let us pray:
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.
—James Weldon Johnson, 1871–1938
We are hosting virtual coffee hour online after worship, Sundays at 11 a.m. Please join us.