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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52: A Living Jubilee

Today's Reading: Leviticus 24-25

Today's scripture reading speaks of a year of Jubilee every 50 years after 7 rounds of 7 years (7X7=49.) This year marks a time when all is set right again. Slaves are set free to return home, precious land which was sold to pay off debt returns to the original owners for their future generations, and all debts are canceled.

The Jubilee was announced with the blasting of the same horn which was used to announce a victory in battle. Interesting, yes? This unites the concept of freedom and restoration with the concept of victory.

So let's see...Humans live on average 39.5 years in Swaziland, 78 years in the USA and 81 years in Japan, according to 2008 statistics. If one was blessed with a long life, one might experience a Jubilee once in one's life time. Is that often enough?

When asked how often he was expected to forgive some one, Peter asked Jesus, "Seven times seven?" Am I to forgive as often as the Levitical law requires? Am I to give a jubilee to my enemy, to cancel their debt toward me, at least as often as I let myself celebrate sabbath, let the land have a year of restoration, and the community experience the return to the land?

How often should I let those who owe me something have the debt forgiven? How often should I welcome home the prodigal who sold himself into the slavery of squalor? How often should I give back what is rightfully mine after helping someone out?

The Year of Jubilee was a joy for those who were in debt. But how did the deed holder, the banker and the slave owner feel about the year? It was extremely costly for them, don't you think?

Jesus pronounces, "Seven times seven? No, seventy times seven!" Don't limit your generosity in forgiveness to such narrow limits. "Don't let the sun go down on your anger."

And what about giving up what is legally mine because of another's foolishness or bad management? Jesus says, "Do for others what you would want them to do for you." Would any of us like to be in debt? Would any of us want to be slaves? Would we choose to be homeless and without a community of love?

Jesus' love and life are a living jubilee. Each day, he calls us to live as though no one owes us anything. Each day, he calls us to live as freely restored individuals. Each day, he calls us to live with the total recognition that because of him, we are debt free and thus, should extend that grace to others.

I wonder if the Year of Jubilee was ever actually celebrated in the days of the Old Testament. We have no documentation that it ever occurred. Was it just a dream, a vision,... a hope?

I want to be a living jubilee.

I want to live so generously that I feel no one owes me anything. I want to freely give, because I have been given to so freely. I don't want to grab anything from anyone, but make space on the land and in my life for anyone who needs a place to call home. I want to live a restored life and one which offers restoration to others.

Lord, you have given everything I have to me.
May my stewardship of everything I call my own, be a witness to your jubilee, your joyful victory, in my life.

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