“Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1.12-17 NRSV
A Word of Hope
There are many times we all look to books to find wisdom and knowledge. The most referenced book in the world is the Bible. Today is Juneteenth and I recently learned that there was a “Slave Bible” that was shared with the slaves which was redacted to endorse slavery including retaining the portions of the Bible that said “…for the slaves to obey their masters.” About ninety percent of the Old Testament and fifty percent of the New Testament was removed. The story of Moses was removed, and the Book of Galatians did not exist in the “Slave Bible.” Like Daniel and his cohorts, the slaves knew in their spirits and their souls that they were meant to be free from oppression and abuse despite what was being shared in the “Slave Bible.” It took years for the slaves in Texas to finally get the word that they were free. It also took years for the full Bible to be shared with them.
Withholding the complete Bible did not stop the slaves from knowing that God loved them without conditions. They believed that someday they would be set free. Additionally, in this biblical story, Daniel requested for himself, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah that they only “….be given vegetables and water…” They went on an intentional “fast.” Many of us are not willing to voluntarily remove meat or soda from our diet. If anyone uses the word “fast” or says that they want to become a “Vegan”, the first question most people ask is “Why?” or “What purpose will it serve?” Fasting can clear our minds to focus on the Word of God in ways that let us read with better clarity or even gain insight into dreams that no one else can interpret with great accuracy.
For Juneteenth 2019, let us all celebrate the freedom that comes with knowing that we are closer to God because of the knowledge and wisdom we gained through eating healthy and continuously connecting with God through reading, study, prayer, and meditation.
Dear Creator of the Universe: We celebrate life, liberty, and freedom today and every day because we are thankful for your unconditional love and extravagant grace. Amen!
Reverend Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Minister
Brite Divinity School Graduate