We were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well -1 Thessalonians
Did you know that there was a celebration at Heritage Park on June 19th? Some would call this celebration, “Juneteenth”. Do you know what this day is in celebration of? Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1866. (Wikipedia) Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas. (https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth)
And it was truly a celebration! I attended for a couple hours and met some lovely people. There was food, music and dancing. Children running around and laughter, lots of laughter. I wonder if those of us who attended from different communities and different generations truly understood the reason for celebration. I wonder.
I wonder in the communities, homes that we live in, are we carrying on this history of our people and our African American neighbors? And I wonder if we are carrying on to the next generation what God would want us to carry on. What the National Museum of African American History and Culture says in their article about Juneteenth is “Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times”. This hope is a hope given by Jesus, with the knowledge that even though the road may be uncertain and rough, the destination is already determined. This type of hope brings joy, promise and love. This is what I pray that we are carrying on to our next generation. I would like to add the word “love”. Carrying on the hope and love for our fellow neighbors is a historical legacy worth carrying on.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalm 48:12-14 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.
As I sat on the bench at Heritage Park, watching the celebration in process, I noticed different. But not different in who we are in God’s eyes. Different in who we, as a human race, has placed tags on our identities. We have pointed out different. We have made different a bad word. We have placed different as a stumbling block. But that is not how God intended. (1 Corinthians 12:12-25) Yes, God created us all different but also all in HIS image.
I sat on the bench with my new friend, Eugene Morton. A friend that God divinely placed in my life to teach me something. I believe that he will teach me many thing during the upcoming years but on this day, the day of celebrating freedom, he taught me something without realizing he was teaching me. To set the stage, the whole time he and I sat on that bench there was also across the way on another bench a young girl and a young boy. I assume they were smitten on each other by the distance between them and the appearance of a newly budding interest. As Eugene and I got up from the bench and began to walk away, the young lady called out to him by name. We turned and walked back to where they sat. The young girl asked him, “How have you and Joyce, Eugene’s wife, stayed married for 50 years?” As the young boy sat there sort of sheepishly, Eugene began to explain. His explanation would not be what I or I would guess, most, would expect. I would expect his explanation to be everything that he and Joyce did, in action, to make their marriage work such as being patient, loving unconditionally, not going to bed mad and the list could go on as to what we as a person might do. But this was not his explanation. His explanation was simple. Not simple in the way of impact but simple in words. His explanation was simply “Jesus, did it”. Then he quickly and simply explained how making sure that Jesus was the center of the marriage would save the marriage and get you to over 50 years. The young girl grinned and the young boy sat there wide eyed, as if to “get it” but still be puzzled. This young girl and boy were different in many ways and their struggle to find their way through life and through eventual marriages was really just beginning. This lesson that Eugene taught them this day not only will get them to 50 years of marriage but prayerfully will also get them through life on this earth and into heaven for eternity. We turned and walked away and I would wager to say that Eugene hasn’t thought about that moment again, because it came so natural to him. But for that young couple and for myself, we will be thinking about that lesson for a lifetime.
Eugene reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, “You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed —God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. – 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Rhonda Gould, is a Certified Professional Life Coach. She specializes in helping people reveal patterns that are holding them back. She believes that every client has the ability within themselves to break the patterns and promote forward movement into career opportunities, new relationships, fun adventures and so much more. Rhonda consults with clients centered around having healthy boundaries and hard conversations as well as being culturally competent. You can learn more about Rhonda’s work at https://rhondagouldonline.com/.