For Freedom and Hope

Dec 31 – A Day for Freedom           

I received a book this year called Common Prayer, which I already love love love. It’s a modernized version of The Book of Common Prayer, ‘for ordinary radicals’. It has beautiful liturgy for daily readings and special readings that includes stories of saints, radicals, missionaries, and  lovers of God. I was snuggled up in bed this morning poring over the reading for today about freedom, moved to prayer and hope for those who are in physical, emotional and spiritual bondage. Here is a portion of the reading...

Watch Night

Established in African-American communities on December 31, 1862, Watch Night is a gathering to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation becoming law. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate sates were proclaimed free. Since that date 146 years ago, African-Americans have celebrated the good news of freedom in local churches on New Year’s Eve.

Booker T. Washington said about the first Watch Night “As the great day grew nearer, there was more signing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. True, they had sung those same verses before, but they had been careful to explain that the ‘freedom’ in those songs referred to the next world, and had no connection with life in this world. Now they gradually threw off the mask; and were not afraid to let it be known that the ‘freedom’ in their songs meant freedom of the body in this world”

Like the slaves who gathered while the Civil war raged on, we proclaim freedom for all captives in Jesus’ name, knowing that for millions, freedom is not a reality. Our celebration is a commitment to join modern-day slaves and undocumented workers in their struggle for justice.

I love supporting Love146 and iE, two organizations that battle daily in Southeast Asia to rescue, restore and abolish child sex slavery. Such a daunting and emotional task, and so much more help is needed. Theirs are the faces I’m thinking of and praying for when I think about freedom.

I was taken aback by  Booker T. Washington’s statement about the slave songs, that they had been careful to categorize the freedom they sang about for the next life and not for now. It made me wonder what things in my life I am careful with, as to not mess with my head, my heart, or my emotions. Hope for freedom, for transformation, for healings and miracles…these are the things I want to see in my life now, not at some magical mature stage in my life, or even in heaven.

The kingdom of God is like a party, it is near, it is righteousness, peace and love, and it is within me, now. For freedom, for radical transformation, for healings and miracles, for an abundance and joy! This is my prayer for 2011. 

Shout the glad tidings o'er Egypt's dark sea: Jehovah has triumphed; his people are free!


flexMD | January 7, 2011 at 7:13 AM

simply beautiful my love. one of reasons i love jazz so much is that it is rooted in those songs... I hope when we sing we praise God with our gratitude for the ability to do so. this was such a lovely post. Im always so impressed with the way you share His light by loving those around you. keep it coming! love ya!