By Pastor John Schwehn
Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud…And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.
– Leviticus 25:9a-10
We are beginning our new program year at Christ the King by focusing on the biblical concept of Jubilee. With COVID continuing to rage, with violence and war throughout our world, with climate change reaping havoc on large swaths of the country, it is difficult to feel anything like jubilation.
But the year of Jubilee, laid out in Leviticus 25, is God’s way of calling us to start over, to begin again, and to let go of all that holds us captive. Every fifty years, God commands that all captives be released, all land returned, and all debts forgiven! It’s meant to disrupt cycles of generational poverty, allow the land to rest, and ensure that all people – and the earth – might live into the future with hope, equity, and mutual trust. Sadly, after Leviticus 25, the Bible is lacking in stories of God’s people actually following the command for Jubilee. Until, one day, Jesus of Nazareth stepped into the pulpit and read from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he had come to bring Jubilee to the earth:
“Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
- Luke 4:16b-19
In 2021, Christ the King has so much to celebrate. The generosity and faithfulness of this congregation over sixty years has freed us to engage in meaningful ministry for our neighbors, and for the land. Here are a few aspects of Jubilee springing up at CtK that we will think about together this year:
After a year of complete separation, may we keep stumbling our way into the future to which God is calling us. With a heightened appreciation of our mortality and for the gift of life that God gives us each day, we return in order to begin again with a clean slate, rejoicing in one another’s presence, and leaning fully onto the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
So blow the trumpet! God is with us.