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What silence do you hold?

On this day in 1865, the Union troops arrived in Galveston Texas with General Order Number 3 which said

"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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

and until this order was received, the enslaved people in Texas did not know about the Emancipation Proclamation which had been issued on January 1, 1863 which stated that:

"that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

nor did they know that the Civil War had ended on April 9, 1865 and that the Confederacy had lost.

There are stories that enslaved people would hear their masters talking behind closed doors about the freedom of the slaves and the necessity of keeping it from them in order to get one more harvest out of them or until somebody came to stop it.

Thus we remember this day as a day of celebration of freedom and also yet another time in the history of our country when the truth was withheld to benefit the powerful.

Pastor Steve's prayer below articulates the danger of withholding truth and holding silence not only in our nation's history but in our own lives.(Click Listen to hear him read the prayer.)

And Maya Angelou's poem nails the treatment of Black people at the hands of enslavers and praises the indomitable human spirit that will always rise...reminding us of Martin Luther King's words, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Juneteenth It took a while for the message of emancipation to get all the way: some folks didn't want word to get out— but some passed it on. You alone can't stop the tide, you won't save the world. But you are part of the story, part of what we tell each other, one generation of the telling. You choose what you pass on, what silence you hold, what truths you disclose, what Realm you proclaim. Choose well, trusting even your little part may set one person free. Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve __________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light

Listen to the audio recording. June 19, 2023 My music and worship resources are on my Web site Donate to Unfolding Light Subscribe/ Unsubscribe to Unfolding Light Still I Rise


You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise" from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.


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