She was bold.
Escaping slavery was no joke. As soon as she walked out the front door, her head had a death warrant on it.
She was intelligent.
Known as the "conductor," she held the job titles of nurse, Union spy, and women's suffrage supporter.
She went back.
After escaping the South herself, Harriet Tubman went back multiple times to help her family and others find safety. Even though death knocked on her doorstep on March 10, 1913, her legacy continues to live on.
We remember her chains.
We remember her boldness.
We remember her strength.
Shackles of Strength
I see a lot of similarities between Harriet Tubman and the Apostle Paul. Both risked their lives for the cause they believed in. Both took a stand against oppressive systems. Both continued the mission, even though death and imprisonment were inevitable.
While imprisoned himself, Paul crafted an encouraging letter to his friends in Colossae—an ancient city in Asia Minor. After encouraging them to stay strong in their temptations and to lean on one another during times of trials, he ends his letter to them by saying this:
"My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you greetings, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas. You have already received instructions about him: If he comes to you, welcome him.... This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you." (Colossians 4:10 & 18, BSB, Emphasis my own)
Remember my chains.
Paul wants his fellow Christ-followers to remember his suffering so that it does not go in vain. He uses a phrase that literally describes his current situation—imprisonment—to encourage the Colossians to continue fighting the good fight. Every freedom fighter desires the same: That their hard work will not be forgotten after death takes them.
And so for my brothers and sisters of color who braved slavery and the underground railroad, we remember your chains.
For the entire early church who risked their lives to share the Gospel, we remember your chains.
For our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world who are risking their lives for the sake of Jesus, we remember your chains.
Let us not forget the suffering of those who came before us in our eagerness to continue the work they started.