The African American Lectionary

Friday, January 1, 2011
Guest Writer for this Unit: Mark Jefferson. Mark is a first-year PhD student at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
The unit you are viewing, Emancipation Proclamation Day and Juneteenth, is a compact unit. This means that it does not have a supporting cultural resource unit and worship unit. Instead, to enliven the imagination of preachers and teachers, we have provided scriptural text(s) that we suggest for this moment on the calendar along with a sermonic outline, suggested links, books, articles, songs, and videos. For additional information see Emancipation Proclamation Day and Juneteenth in the archives of the Lectionary for 2008, 2009, and 2010. 2011 is the firstyear that the African American Lectionary has posted compact units for moments on its liturgical calendar.
I. Description of the Liturgical Moment
Since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth share important historical and cultural connections, we explore them under the same lectionary moment. Some congregations will choose to celebrate each of these moments separately on different days. Others will elect to celebrate only one of these moments. Still other churches will combine the celebrations as we have done and celebrate them on January 1st or June 19th.
In the African American Lectionary 2010 Emancipation Proclamation Day commentary, Dr. Luke Powery wrote the following concerning the theological implications of designating a day Emancipation Proclamation Day:
To designate a day Emancipation Proclamation implies that God is a God of emancipation, freedom, and liberation. It suggests that God is on the side of freedom and resists oppression. This is surely true for the black churchs traditional understanding of God as a God who is on the side of the oppressed. The God of black people is a freeing God. By making this distinction (i.e., God of black people), I am suggesting that there may be other gods, even supposedly Christian gods, at work in the world; other gods whom people worship, other gods whom people think are God. But, if these gods are oppressive and destructive, they are not the God of the oppressed, the God of African Americans, the God of our weary years and silent tears, the One who has brought us thus far along the way. This identity of God as a deliverer of the oppressed is critical for this Sunday and is a lens through which one can worship in celebration with trust in his or her heart.
In the African American Lectionary 2009 Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth cultural resource unit, Dr. Juan…

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