Pastor Tim

Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Tim of Holy Trinity, June 19, 2020

Pastor Tim’s Devotion for Friday, June 19, 2020:


Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It recalls how the states of Louisiana and Texas heard the news that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Slavery continued in those two states for more than two years after the proclamation was signed because the word had yet to travel there. Texas and Louisiana finally got the good news on June 19, 1865. Former slaves broke out in spontaneous celebration. These were dangerous times. Even in the face of resistance and threat, the formerly enslaved Africans found ways to give voice to the wide range of thoughts and emotions at the announcement of the end of legalized slavery in the United States of America.

ELCA Worship Resources on Juneteenth

I want to share with you a quote from Ken Wheeler regarding Juneteenth:

Our faith teaches us that God is a lover of freedom. I don’t think it was accidental that the slaves latched on to the story of Moses and the Exodus. God has an ear, and I would argue a keen and particular ear to the cries of those who long to be free.

Juneteenth is not just a commemoration of an event that happened 150 years ago. It is a call to pay attention to those places where people are still not free and to join in this groundswell of a movement to make the freedom that the forefathers envisioned real for every person and for every group that still lives with and feels the sting of discrimination.

“God said, I’ve taken a good long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them. Pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8 The Message).

Prying requires some pushing and pulling, some struggle and God is leading in that. A good land filled with wide-open spaces where black males can walk their streets without fear of being stopped by the police in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Ferguson, Houston, Cleveland and in other cities in this land.

Ken Wheeler wrote this June 16, 2015. Sadly there are many other cities which we would need to add, like Minneapolis and Atlanta.

You can read this article as well as another by following these links:


Juneteenth Day 150 years later:

I offer the following prayer for your devotion on this important day:

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth; so that, in your good time, every people and nation may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne.

Creator of All in your mercy, hear our prayer

O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination.

Creator of All in your mercy, hear our prayer

O God, call us into a deeper relationship to be your church for the sake of the world. Help us to see with new eyes the injustices within church and society. Call us to have a loving heart that respects and uplifts the humanity and dignity of every person; open our ears to listen to and learn from the experiences of people of color. Open our mouths to speak up and about injustices. Join us with others to work for racial equity and inclusion for all people.

Creator of All in your mercy, hear our prayer

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 freedoms to bring justice among people and nations everywhere, to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pastor Tim

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