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Remember

Throughout Scripture we are invited to remember.


This day (Passover) shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.  (Exodus 12:14)

 

You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice . . . Remember you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed from there; therefore I command you to do this. (Deuteronomy 24:17-18)

 

Remember how he (Jesus) told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.  Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they (the women) toll all this to the eleven and to all the rest.  (Luke 24:6-9)

 

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread . . . “Do this in remembrance of me. “  1 Corinthians 23-24.


Remembering draws us back into our identity, shaped by the experiences and realities both of sorrow and sin, as well as redemption and freedom. Remembering connects us to community, recognizing the common humanity of all and opening our hearts to act with compassion. Remembering helps us to be honest about the past, recognizing how the threads and seeds planted in the past continue to weave their way into and affect our present. Most importantly, remembering helps us to celebrate God and all that God has and continues to do in our lives.

Juneteenth is a day of remembrance, remembering and owning the reality of slavery in our country’s history and how the threads of racism continue to oppress people today, remembering and celebrating the resilient spirit of human beings to embrace and live in freedom in the midst of danger, remembering and participating in the ongoing work of God’s justice for our world.

 

That is why we pause, in whatever way we can, for Juneteenth to remember that on June 19, 1865, the good news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas and Louisiana where slavery had continued for more than two years. That is why we pause to pray:


Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.  Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.  Help us, like those of generations before us who resisted the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form and any manner of oppression.  Help us to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations everywhere, to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

(Copyright 2019 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)


And finally in the words of Harriet Tubman:

Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.  Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is.  I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave.

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