Weekly Devotion

Today is a day of lament, remembrance, and repentance as we remember the Emanuel Nine. As horrible and tragic as any act of violence is, this event has particular relevance to members of the Lutheran Church and so has been set aside as a special day of commemoration.
On June 17, 2015, Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered by a self-professed white supremacist while they were gathered for Bible study and prayer at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (often referred to as Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, South Carolina. Pastors Pinckney and Simmons were both graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The perpetrator himself grew up in a Lutheran congregation. A resolution to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance for the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine was adopted by the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on August 8, 2019. Congregations of the ELCA are encouraged to reaffirm their commitment to repenting of the sins of racism that continue to plague this nation and our church, to venerate the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine, and to mark this day of penitence with study and prayer.
This evening, June 17, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA Elizabeth Eaton will participate in the Emanuel Nine Nationwide Bible Study. The event will be streamed live and will launch a year-long Bible study commemorating the nine African Americans who were fatally shot while they attended Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
This coming Sunday is the actual date of Juneteenth, June 19th, while the public holiday will be observed on Monday. This day commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The holiday is considered the “longest-running African-American holiday” and has been called “America’s second Independence Day”. President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in the midst of the Civil War, which became effective on January 1, 1863, declaring that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were freed. Despite the surrender of Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, the western Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2. On the morning of June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived on the island of Galveston, Texas. Granger’s men marched throughout Galveston reading General Order No. 3, informing all Texans that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves were free.
As Rev. Kenneth Wheeler writes, “Juneteenth is not just a commemoration of an event that happened 150 years ago. It is a call to pay attention to those places where people are still not free and to join in this groundswell of a movement to make the freedom that the forefathers envisioned real for every person and for every group that still lives with and feels the sting of discrimination.”
This Saturday, the African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA) chapter of our synod (of which Redeemer is a member) is inviting everyone to a Juneteenth Celebration at Emmanuel Lutheran Church (3050 Cascade Roade SW, Atlanta) from 12 Noon until 4 PM. This event will feature live music, food trucks, kids’ activities, and worship.
On this day and weekend of remembrance and commemoration, we join our voices in lament. Lament is a way for us to recognize the harm caused by racism and recommit ourselves to act with equity, fairness, and justice. And so we pray:
When one part of the body of Christ hurts, the whole body hurts. As we listen to people who are harmed by racism, we call to you,
open our hearts, O God.
As we reflect on our daily interactions with people and communities of color, we call to you,
open our hearts, O God.
As we reconsider what we have been taught about race and racism, we call to you,
open our hearts, O God.
As we contemplate what we have done and what we have left undone, we call to you,
open our hearts, O God.
As we labor to create a loving and safe community for our siblings of color, we call to you,
open our hearts, O God.
Holy and merciful God, as your people we recommit ourselves to loving one another as you have loved us. Prepare us for this time of listening and discovery. We pray in the name of the one who has made us one, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Skin Color
Layout Options
Layout patterns
Boxed layout images
header topbar
header color
header position