SUGGESTIONS FOR JUNETEENTH  
Our church is encouraging members to celebrate Juneteenth this
year in some way. This is a fun celebration of freedom. It is also a bittersweet occasion. There is a tinge of sadness that it took so long for news of freedom to reach those living as slaves. It is also a call to continue to work for freedom in this day and time. You can celebrate with family or close friends, or by yourself. You can research ideas for celebrating Juneteenth on the internet. Even better, ask an African American friend or family member how they would suggest you mark this day. Here are some ideas to consider from our pastors.  

SOME SUGGESTIONS TO CONSIDER FOR CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH  
I. HAVE A PARTY (remembering limitations necessary during this pandemic – stay safe).  
II. HAVE A MEAL. Research traditional Juneteenth foods, like red drinks (strawberry soda has been common), red foods (like red velvet cake), barbecue, or whatever you want.  
III. READ AND DISCUSS SOME OF THE HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH FROM A SOURCE LIKE THIS ONE:            http://juneteenth.com/history.htm  
IV. HAVE SOMEONE READ THIS SCRIPTURE OUT LOUD  
Exodus 3:  7-8 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,… 9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”  
V. HAVE SOMEONE READ THE LAMENT (at the end of this document) OUT LOUD.  
VI. HAVE SOMEONE READ GENERAL ORDER #3  
General Order Number 3   One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 that began most significantly with:   “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”  
VII. REFLECT ON THESE OR YOUR OWN QUESTIONS: 1. Why did the news take so long to reach the 250,000 slaves in Texas that they were to be freed? 2. What can we do to work for freedom for all people? VIII. SOME MOVIES THAT HAVE A MESSAGE ABOUT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Just Mercy The Help Ruby Bridges Hidden Figures Remember the Titans Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
IX. DO SOMETHING FUN AND EDUCATIONAL Chalking messages of anti-racism (Black Lives Matter) as a way of showing support and celebrating Juneteenth.   Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (part of the Smithsonian) https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/collection

ANOTHER OPTION

Another option is to attend the Juneteenth Event sponsored by Black Lives Matter Blo/No and hosted at the Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church this Friday from 3:00-7:00 P.M.

https://www.facebook.com/events/979090019175737/

A Lament for the People

A Prayer for Restoration, no, for Origination©

By Danielle Charles Harrison

O Holy One, Hear our cry

You, who knew us before we knew ourselves

You, who brought us from a “mighty long way”

You who heard our cries

As we crossed the passage

You who felt

Each crack of the whip on our backs

You who screamed

While every child was ripped from their mother’s arms

You whose tears

Washed the blood from our bodies

O Holy One,

Come to us now.

And do again what you have done before

Make something new

From the scraps of our pains.

Once again we come

In desperation, in fear,

In hopelessness, in anger, in confusion

In MESS

WHERE ARE YOU?

The very air we breathe

Has now become our enemy

The very labor we do

Has become a death trap

The very people we turn to for help

Have now cut off life with their “knee on our neck”

The very space we go to worship

Has now been closed to us.

We have been plucked-day after day after day after day…

No end in sight.

O Holy one,

Come be with us NOW

And do again what you have done before

Make something new from the scraps of our pain.

The world waits

“Can these dry bones live?”

Injustice on every side.

Pretty Masks hide

The fear inside

The decay seems never ending

We are in the abyss!!!

We look around-

What is left?

IS THERE A BALM IN GILEAD?

Are we left in these ruins?

O Holy One,

Come to us now.

And do again what you have done before

Make something new

From the scraps of our pains

MAKE Something New

Break us out of the mold

Not Restoration-but Origination

We are in need of greater than “what was”

We are open for your Awesomeness to SHINE FORTH

CREATE ANEW

With every protest

With every rally

With every confession

With every death

You can turn our mourning

Into meaning

Into change

Into movement

Into action

Into purpose

Into life

O Holy One

Come to us now.

And do again what you have done before

Make something new

From the scraps of our pains.

Copyright 2020 – Any reprint, republication or redistribution without the express written permission of the author is strictly prohibited.

Permission granted by the author on June 17, 2020 to First United Methodist Church to use this prayer for Juneteenth celebrations.