Deuteronomy 28 Luke 17:3 and Psalms 14:5-7
This year's observance of Juneteenth hits differently! On the one hand, we know that we must pay homage to our ancestors who were enslaved more than two and a half years longer in the state of Texas than our other enslaved ancestors. While the Emancipation Proclamation was effective January 1, 1863 for all slave holding states, Texas kept it grandfathers and grandmothers enslaved until June 19, 1865. So you see for many of us it's too difficult to celebrate January 1, 1863 because as a unified people we say until we're all "free" none are free! Juneteenth is our equivalent of July 4th for we are hard pressed to celebrate an illegitimate independence whereby those who robbed and killed those native to the land exclaim victory in celebration. This is a story that must be continually recounted throughout our generations so that our offspring and theirs will observe and celebrate those things that bring us truth and clarity and that do not reinforce the lies we've believed for far too long.
In my opening, I mentioned that this year's observance hits differently. This is what's on the other hand.
It hits differently because in the last few weeks our righteous community has had to mourn with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed and most recently George Floyd. With the exception of Mr. Arbery all were murdered by white police officers and Arbery by a white son and father acting as self-appointed community protectors. White supremacy or as I truly believe is cloaked in white inferiority. Never in the history of humanity has there been a more hated, despised and abused people as Black people. If those of us who live by a biblical code actually understood that our true identity is that of the biblical Israelites then we would also understand that our global mistreatment was declared by the Father in Deut 28.
We are so accustomed to seeking out the blessings in the Word but we're more adept at overlooking the curses. Most blessings have a corresponding curse. If you do this then you'll be blessed. If you don't do this you'll be cursed. Such is the case with our biblical ancestors and so it is with our more recent ancestors (1865) and so it is with us today. The Lord declares that if we fail to follow his commandments and statutes many curses will come upon us. (Deut 28:15)
The chapter goes on to list a wide range of curses in the verses that follow. Instead of being blessed when we come and go we shall be cursed. (V19) By dropping down to verse 25, it is here where we begin to embody our present day struggles and suffering.
It says: "The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies..." in verse 33, "The fruit of thy hand, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and cursed always."
We have lived under these and other curses for far longer than 400 years! Our history didn't begin in 1619, it began as the chosen people of God. Our very identity and heritage was stolen and we continue to live under the curses because we haven't recognized who we are and we haven't been faithful to the Word of God. We've even been lied to by the church and taught to forgive our enemies without rebuke and without receiving an apology or a request for forgiveness. (Luke 17:3-4) So if we've been lied to by the United States government and our trusted faith community then it's time that we come to terms with the fact that in 2020 we're still waiting for Juneteenth to come! But be not dismayed nor discouraged God has a Word for us during this prolonged wait:
"There were they great in fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor because the Lord is his refuge. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad. (Psalms 14:5-7)
Our true Juneteenth is on the way!
(C) Dr. Deborah D. Jenkins
May 29, 2020