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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word ‘Juneteenth’ as in… grateful for it.

The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians from a prison cell in Rome in about the year 61AD. Paul and his ministry partners had started this community of faith on what we now know as Paul’s Second Missionary Journey and became the first church established on the European continent. Even from a prison cell, Paul was filled with joy and gratitude for these people. Here’s what he wrote to them:

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”

Let me just remind us again how stunning it was that Paul wrote Philippians from a prison cell. When life gets tough, when the significant challenges of the day seem to pile up, there is power in giving thanks.

Today we’re giving thanks for another observance of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of ending slavery in the United States. Also known as Liberation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, when the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Juneteenth 2022. It’s a reminder that while we’ve covered a good bit of ground, we’ve got miles and miles to go before we rest.

So on this day, let’s pause to give thanks for voices who speak clearly for justice. Let us express our gratitude for the hearts and hands that join together in the ongoing work of freedom for all people. No exceptions.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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