Celebrating Juneteenth

“The Ethiopian Eunuch by Lauren Wright Pittman”

Kindred in Christ,

As we continue our Pride Month series, Building a Church Without Walls, we will also honor Juneteenth in various segments of our worship gathering this coming Sunday! Along with our country, we celebrate this national holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in our country and reminds us to continue the work of dismantling white supremacy and oppression in all its forms.

To help us reflect deeper on these themes, we will consider the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39). While not given a name in the book of Acts, he is referred to as Qinaqis in many African traditions. Biblical scholars, such as Rev. Dr. Mona West, point out that by the time of Jesus, the term “eunuch” had become a way to refer to various “sexual minorities” in that culture, and eunuchs were excluded from temple worship. Yet, Qinaqis comes to a point where he boldly asks, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?”

Above is a depiction of Qinaqis embracing his baptism—a grace-filled symbol that reminds us that we are all equal and free in God. Even in the face of religious and political systems that seek to deny our humanity, may we remember our baptisms and participate in the ever-flowing stream of Divine freedom in our lives.

Alongside you,

Rev. Paul Ortiz