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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Inspired Word for 2016

common things can contribute to jubilee
The past few days I have been pondering which word will be meaningful in ordering my life in the coming year 2016.  In 2014, the word I felt led to hold onto was "hope"; in 2015, it was "balance."  Through circumstances and a song Michael Card released with his 1994 album "Joy in the Journey," I came upon the word "Jubilee."
   Traditionally, we associate the word jubilee with celebrations of milestones like 25, 50 or 75 years for a monarch's reign or a couple's marriage.  The original meaning of this word goes back to the dense book of Leviticus, where a series of instructions is given in chapter 25 about how the Israelite people should conduct their affairs in light of the 50th year, the Year of Jubilee.  They are told that land prices should reflect the number of years until the Jubilee because in that year all land will be returned to its original ancestral owners.  Any person who had accumulated debt, which could also lead to slavery at that time, would have the debt forgiven and be released from slavery.  In addition, the people were to refrain from tilling the ground and, therefore, would eat from the abundance of food stored up from previous harvests. They were allowed to pick fruit and other produce of the land that grew up by itself.
   According to songwriter Michael Card, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Jubilee vision.  When he began his ministry in a remote synagogue in Galilee, he declared that his mission would include bringing good news to the poor, the release of captives, giving sight to the blind, and setting the oppressed free.  Those who have experienced the transforming love of Jesus will set a priority on the same things.
   So, how will I apply these things in 2016? The enduring principles that come from the concept of the Year of Jubilee and that I wish to embrace are as follows:

  • I will be more aware of the fact that everything I have ultimately belongs to God and is mine to use only for a short time.  I will endeavour to hold material things loosely in order to make them available for those who need them.
  • I will further educate myself about human trafficking and bonded labour; I will join with organizations seeking to bring about freedom for modern-day slaves.
  • I know what it is like to have had debt forgiven, both monetary and spiritual.  I will aim to show that same grace to others.
  • Since jubilee has to do with resting in God's provision, I will try to live more in the present moment by being there for and loving my family and the others God has placed in my life. 

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