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Next Monday, June 19th is celebrated as Juneteenth. The holiday marks the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation was read in Galveston, TX (two years after it was penned). Sometimes people think of it as a “black” holiday, but even the oppressors get a little more free when their soul isn’t wrapped up in the harm of others and as Christians we “rejoice with those who rejoice.” In recent years Juneteenth has gained more national recognition, but it is a special thing to live where this liberation begins to unfold. Just down the road from us, Emancipation Park in the Third Ward neighborhood was a plot of land purchased by local residents so that the community could gather to celebrate. We walk on holy ground and we get to be a part of the ongoing story.

My recent trip to the Holy Land has only reinforced this understanding of the powerful connection between place and sacred stories. It invites us to be strengthened by the courage and joy of generations past and be inspired further into the hope of wholeness. God’s promise of love and life abundant is not only for our souls in the hereafter, but for our bodies and neighborhoods here and now.

What if we treated the hand-laid bricks of Freedmen’s Town with the same reverence as the steps of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem? What if we recognized the face of Christ the liberator in the face of our black and brown neighbors who still long for the earthly promises of freedom to be fulfilled? What if we celebrated the way our blessing of joy and divine freedom is intertwined?

Reverend Ashley Dellagiacoma, Associate Rector