Scripture: Romans 16:17-20
This Sunday I am so excited to welcome Elder Nicole Thompson to the pulpit to preach the next lesson in our Spirit School worship series: The Holy Spirit and Justice. It also happens to be Juneteenth, a holiday many Black Americans have been celebrating for generations. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865–the day that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned from the officials in the Union Army that the nation had abolished slavery.
Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation almost two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1963.
This isn’t a story of news traveling slowly. It is a Pharaoh 10th plague kind of story. It is the story of enslavers holding on to institutional evil for as long as humanly possible. Humans do hold on to evil–but, by the power of God, the hold can only last so long.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is the culmination of salvation history. In that moment–along with reconciling love, grace, wisdom and power–God unleashes God’s restorative justice. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of justice. The work of justice is not optional or supplemental for Spirit filled people. It is essential. As the song goes–where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Our God of peace is a God of justice–because without justice there is no peace, only control and oppression.
On Sunday, we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promises, we celebrate liberation, we celebrate receiving the Holy Spirit–which not only calls but equips us to follow the Lord Jesus. Jesus tears down every system that divides, denies and destroys life. Jesus is the way that restores all people created in God’s image to the mutually flourishing shalom life we were made for. We can not do the work on our own, but we dare not try to delay or deny it. I hope to worship with you Sunday at 10am on livestream or in the sanctuary!
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