Friday, June 19, 2009



Juneteenth is the day that African Americans in Texas celebrate liberty from slavery. Just a little history lesson - Lincoln issued the Emanicipation Proclamation in 1863, but that didn't automatically free anyone. As the Union troops moved through areas where slaves were kept, the freedom began to trickle down. When Reconstruction in Texas began in June 1865, General Gordon Granger was responsible for paroling Confederate soldiers and putting aside slavery once and for all. He declared on June 19th, that "all slaves are free" - further advising freedmen "to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages."

I'd like to tell you that everyone lived happily-ever-after, but of course we know that's not the way life works. Most slaves were unable to leave their former masters and instead, continued to work for them and receive a very small amount of pay. One was quoted as saying, "freedom could make folks proud, but it didn't make them rich."

The years that followed were tumultuous and often deadly. Still, how precious that freedom.

I think of the freedom we enjoy in this country. Freedom to speak and worship. Freedom to live and make choices important to us. I think of the freedom we have in Christ. Freedom from sin and death--from the chains Satan would put upon us.

Freedom always comes at a dear price. I'm blessed to enjoy freedom both physical and spiritual, and today I will remember the sacrifices made on my behalf, as well as the behalf of others.

Happy Juneteenth.

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