by Calvin Dorsey
Pastor of Sandusky Life Church, Sandusky, OH
Never mind me as I eat this strange fruit from a tree
not to get full but being fooled only to miss being free
See, you think economic gain is your only pathway to liberty
but if your dollars perpetuate more collars, you ain’t free, is you digging’ me?
To achieve symmetry, we must abolish supremacy
unless it’s the only One who could hold it with legitimacy
See I got no contingency, my Juneteenth’s a full jubilee
meaning it has Reparation & restorations
with no consolation until we see constellations
that means we reaching for the stars, not the artist starving for parts
but the ones created by God
My Juneteenth is a jubilee
Salvation not only from oppression that was physical
but one that tore bonds in realms invisible
that atoned for the sins of the community as well as the individual
NOW we build upon the ROCK instead of playing with minerals
Can you imagine if Jesus’ ligaments moved with purpose?
See I’m in my bag and it ain’t Birkin
but what I pull from it’ll have you soul searching
for Revelation 7:9, until what beats in your chest and yo’ head align
and the Spirit takes real estate in your heart that can’t be gentrified
it’s a difference between living yo’ truth and where truth really resides
whether it’s three fifths or Missouri, it’s all compromise
I’m asking YOU, what is your Jubilee?
Is it Black angels dancing side by side
with every hue a rainbow can provide
is it you finally getting your slice of that American pie?
Is it rebellion while we scream, eye for an eye?
Is it preaching on Love but not doing Love while we sit idly by?
Is it emancipation with dehumanization
that only leads to mass incarceration?
My jubilee is to make ready again
it is wholeness, completeness, justice to men who have been steeped in sin
equality, or should I say, perfect harmony
a melody so sweet everyone leaves blessed
not too much not too little this is where we leave stress
at the altar
to divorce any ideas that leave people slaughtered
no longer begging for a seat at the table
because He who sits at the head is always able
It is restoration, redemption, repentance & release
it is proclamation, perseverance, penance & peace
when we see JESUS hanging from that TREE
it gives a whole new definition to debt-free
yeah, that’s my Jubilee
We have a penchant to separate justice from the gospel. The problem is when you remove justice from the gospel you inevitably separate it from righteousness. This is analogous to removing the foundation from a very tall structure—once the foundation is compromised, the entire building collapses.
Justice and Righteousness are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14).
Watch Pastor Calvin perform “Strange Fruit Jubilee” here.
A Brief History of Juneteenth, Jubilee, and Strange Fruit
157 years ago, on June 19, two months after the Civil War ended and over two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce to remaining enslaved African-Americans that they were free. Since then, Juneteenth has been observed as an annual celebration of culture, remembrance, freedom, and prayer. While the history of Juneteenth is long, it was officially made a federal holiday in 2021.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”General Orders, Number 3
Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
Juneteenth is also known as Black Independence Day, Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, and Jubilee Day.
Jubilee is an important biblical concept (see Leviticus 25) intertwined with the kinsman-redeemer, liberty from slavery and debt, and the practice of Sabbath. During the Year of Jubilee, slaves were freed, debts forgiven, and ancestral property returned.
In the gospels, Jesus is revealed as humanity’s Redeemer—through His death and Resurrection, He provides liberty from slavery to sin and death, payment for all our debts, and returns what has been stolen. It can be said that Jesus Himself is our Jubilee (see Isaiah 61, Luke 4:18–21).
In this spoken word piece, Pastor Calvin references “strange fruit” in two ways. First, in relation to the forbidden fruit in Eden (Never mind me as I eat this strange fruit from a tree). And second, a reference to the song “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday, which corresponds with an image of a noose at the end of the video. A noose is a painful symbol of lynching. After its release in 1939, “Strange Fruit” became a protest anthem for both the anti-lynching and American civil rights movements.
“Strange Fruit Jubilee” is available to download on Apple Music here!
Photo courtesy of Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash.