Juneteenth may not be a well-known commemoration outside the African American community. But it’s very relevant to the Christian message of salvation and freedom. On June 19, 1865, Texan slaves learned that they had been free for two years, though nobody had told them (and slaveowners successfully kept the news from them.) As soon as they heard and understood that freedom was already their inheritance, they were able to take advantage of it.

2000 years ago, God the Word became man and united the human race to the living God. For 2000 years, man has been free from chains of sin, though the rulers of this world have conspired to keep the news from him. To experience this freedom, all a man needs is to know the truth and walk out of his chains by the power of God in Christ.

Many lack the strength to do it, or are too beaten down and defeated; many are able to take the first steps into a new life but then don’t know how to live this life. For them and all of us, God has given us the community of the Church: Many generations, who share with us their experience and hope, show us how free people live, and model the virtues of Christ for us – so that with them, we can be conformed to the image of Christ who is our Freedom.

Juneteenth deserves to be celebrated not only by Americans, but by Christians everywhere, who recognize it as a type of our salvation.

Author: Father Silouan Thompson

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  1. Yay! Somebody blogged about my birthday! Thank you.

    I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I remember as a very young child riding past Herman Park (very big park) with my mother. To my childish eyes appeared an enormous group of black people having what was obviously an enormous party. There were games and picnicking and probably a parade. “Mommy, what are they doing?” “They are celebrating your birthday.” “But … where are my presents?”

    She then explained Juneteenth to me, so I didn’t get to go on too long thinking all these folk were celebrating me. But the brief illusion was really nice. But no presents?

    I love your recommendation that it be celebrated by Americans and Christians everywhere. It is another event in a long line which started with the Exodus. Praise God every moment in human history which proclaims God’s justice.

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