January 31 – Remember

Remember

So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Exodus 13:3)

Read: Exodus 12:14-13:16, Matthew 20:29-21:22, Psalm 25:16-22, Proverbs 6:12-15

 

Relate: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The year was 1865. The date… today. January 31. After weeks of backroom bargaining, calling in favors, and other wheeling and dealing that was all beautifully conveyed in a recent blockbuster hit, Lincoln finally managed congress to pass this thirteenth amendment to the Constitution. On this day, after decades of oppression and years of war, the slave was made free.

Of course it did not end there. They might technically be free, but they certainly were not considered equal. Not by most. Technically, the fourteenth amendment passed three years later guaranteed equal privileges and protection to everyone in the US.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Since that didn’t seem clear enough in 1870 the right to vote was guaranteed to everybody… at least it should have. Women had to wait another fifty years to get it. It took still 40 more years for DC residents to get the right to vote and four more after that before the poll tax was abolished and the truly poor could join in the process.

All that is just the right to vote. Despite many setbacks and often violent fear and paranoia emanating who fought against freedom and equality, the saints kept marching on. The list of heroes includes far too many names but ones like Susan B Anthony, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Eugene Debs, WEB Dubois, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Jackie Robinson, and even some in our time like Mother Theresa and Desmond Tutu are deserving of our gratitude. There have been many setbacks along the way, there have been struggles and moments when some wanted to just throw in the towel and give up the fight. But the march of history here in America has steadily been towards freedom and equality for all. I wonder what the historians of future generations will say of our days today. Are we continuing to move forward? Are we being bedeviled by one setback after another? How will they judge us.

React: Now to make a drastic change in direction, I must ask, when was your day of freedom? At what point in your life were you loosed from the shackles that kept you enslaved to sin? Has that moment come yet? I can’t honestly remember mine. I have vague memories of a Sunday School class when the teacher was asking if anyone would want to accept Christ. I remember thinking that I did not need to because it was something I had already done. Mrs Wojack was another Sunday School teacher of mine even further back and she claims I prayed with her back before we moved from Greece to Syracuse NY. That would mean I would have been three on my day of freedom.

Just like those working for civil rights and equal rights for all people of all nationalities and religions, I have come far in my walk with God but still have much further to go. In the same way, the Israelites were marking their day of freedom but they still had a long march ahead before they would enter promised land. Tomorrow marks the beginning of Black History month. It is a time to look back at all we have accomplished while also looking ahead to where we still need to go. Before tomorrow starts, take a moment to do the same thing in your own life. Where has God brought you? Where is He leading you? How will you get there?

Respond:

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “January 31 – Remember

  1. BJ, I love your messages. I share them on Facebook a lot. It’s very important for us to have better understanding of our freedom in Christ (and perhaps a better understanding of what the US Constitution and amendments say, too) and you presented it deftly.

  2. Being confirmed during the Easter Vigil last year at the ripe old age of 57 was my day. And since then, the closer my relationship grows towards Him, the more freedom I am blessed to receive. It may seem counterintuitive to the faint of heart. But if you can let go, He is there to catch you. Thanks for your posts.

  3. My walk has been like the Israelites: met Jesus at age 9, baptized by immersion at age 12 – both events were powerful – but my parents didn’t really get it themselves so I was in and out of church and growth. Had a major depression event, wanted to jump out the window of a 14 story apartment but Jesus showed up again-by sending 2 young Christians out witnessing! I was 20 then so now I knew I had to get in the Word-and did. Met my future husband in this same street witnessing ministry-then we strayed! So 13 years later, divorced him and ran into the Arms of Jesus! Then HE restored us and FINALLY, I committed to being a disciple of Christ and now just love to read about the Israelites since I finally figured out how to walk in Grace, Love and Mercy!

  4. Beautifully said, maybe if President Lincoln had the foresight to see what happened to his great nation he would have added one word and left out one “Prejudice, slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

    • It would be kind of hard to legislate prejudice. For one, the term is vague enough to be abused and for another, people can only be punished for actions, not feelings and opinions.

      • there is no vagueness in prejudice, it means to pre-judge. Putting up a sign “No Blacks” or “Whites Only” is prejudice. Here is an example. I advertise for a foot pump opperator and a disabled man rings up. I say, sorry I can’t use a disabled man I am pre-judging him. If he said to me “I have no leg’s” I could say “Sorry friend I would love to give you the job but you need to have legs, I will put your name down and if anything comes up and you don’t have a job I will offer it to you” This is not prejudice as I am not pre-judging him.

        • You are misusing prejudice, a predetermined opinion that is not based on fact, where you should use discrimination, unfair or unjust treatment often rooted in prejudice. Prejudice is you believing that you as a foot pump operator could not use a handicap person. Discrimination is acting on that prejudice to not hire someone who might have been qualified enough to do the job despite their handicap.

      • Slavery itself is a vague term, is someone who is underpaid a slave, is a slave someone who has no freedom. They were for the most part given food, as meager as it may have been, clothes and shelter, maybe not much, but something. Some slaves were trusted totally and had a lot of freedom, a lot of slaves afterwards stayed on, same conditions etc because they were better off.

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