Written by Dr. Michael Patterson, founder of Be a Peace Maker
Over the weekend, we celebrated both Father’s Day and Freedom Day, otherwise known as Juneteenth. You may have special traditions for celebrating and remembering your father, or for those without a father, the men in your life who act as fathers, mentors, teachers, and more. The father figures in our life help remind us of the kindness and strength of God the Father of us all.
Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, commemorates June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves there. It’s a holiday that reminds us of another aspect of God, our Redeemer who sets us free.
“Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. And when He stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” (Luke 4:16-19)
Similarly, upon arrival and leading the Union soldiers, Major Gen. Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, under a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Imagine the jubilation people felt when they heard the announcement, “YOU ARE FREE!”
For those of us who are believers, we have all experienced being set free. As Jesus walked among us, He preached good news to those who were captives and oppressed by the Evil One. As disciples of Christ, we are called to imitate His life. As Christians, we should be champions for those who are in bondage and oppressed.
Why should we acknowledge Juneteenth or Freedom Day? It is an opportunity to commemorate the freeing of men and women who were oppressed because of the color of their skin. Also, it is a reminder that we should appreciate the freedom we have in America: to build families, careers, and communities, and love and raise children who honor God.
Let us use this time to acknowledge how God has freed us from a life of misery, while we also ask God to use us as instruments to help others find eternal freedom.
And a big Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!
Please enjoy this video as we speak about Juneteenth, why we celebrate it, and the history behind this special day.