As Jeremiah 30:8 says, “ ‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.’ ”
For those looking for an online option to celebrate Juneteenth this Sabbath, the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church (Riverside, CA) is hosting a two-hour music and message program called “Greater Than Our Chains.” It starts at 11 a.m. PDT.
If you don’t want to wait until then, here is a really informative civil rights-era history program from the Tabernacle Seventh-day Adventist church (Miami, FL). Members of the community participated, creating a very engaging and inspiring program for their Juneteenth Sabbath service last year.
If you’d like to reflect on the theological themes of Juneteenth, last year Spectrum published a profound message from Michael C. Mickens, DMin, senior pastor of the South Jackson and Canton Seventh-day Adventist churches in Jackson, Mississippi.
This brings me to the meaning and significance of Juneteenth for my faith and life today. As an African American Seventh-day Adventist, I believe we have a lot of work to do in order to properly represent the Messiah to the world in our present times. In a world filled with hate and bigotry, where minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ persons, and other marginalized groups are constantly discriminated against in the name of God and in the advancement of Christian beliefs (to include our own Fundamental Beliefs), Adventists must take a decided stand for present truth (denouncing all forms of bigotry), righteousness (reflecting God’s love in all of our social interactions) and justice (advocating for justice for all people). We must determine that we will advocate for those who are discriminated against, historically marginalized, and systematically oppressed; and we must determine once and for all to rid our own institutions of all vestiges of racism and bigotry. If we are going to faithfully claim to be believers in freedom and divine justice, we must affirm not only freedom of religion and conscience but freedom from all forms of enslavement (including all dehumanizing laws and discriminatory practices, including church policy).
Alexander Carpenter is executive editor of Spectrum
Title image: Avel Chuklanov / Unsplash
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