This Sunday, Marijke Hoek will be speaking to us about compassion, loving our neighbour, and serving the poor. We will also be introducing a new song, called ‘The Spirit of Jubilee’, which addresses these themes.
The concept of ‘Jubilee’ is found in the Old Testament book of the law, Leviticus. It contained radical instructions for the people of God regarding the way they were to deal with work, loans, land, and the treatment of the poor. It really was to be great news for everyone. Nobody is sure how closely the Israelites followed it or for how long, but it was meant to be a clear sign to all that God’s economics and politics were radically different to those of other nations and tribes.
In the New Testament, the early church followed a similar set of principles, meeting together to share possessions and food, selling land to give to the poor and making sure widows, orphans, and foreigners were looked after. It was a great reflection of the heart of God.
Writing this song, I wondered how far we have strayed from this in our self-obsessed and materialistic western culture and whether it is actually possible to live in the spirit of Jubilee. One thing is certain, the world would be a much better place for the poor if we did.
Living like brothers, sisters and friends
Each blessing received is shared with those in need
Selling possession, breaking our bread
There’s always enough when humbly placed at God’s feet
Another world is possible
Right here on earth like heaven
This should be good news to both strong and weak
Welcoming all into the fold, treating the foreigner like our own
This should be good news to both rich and poor
Breaking the chains of wealth and the fear of death
In the spirit of Jubilee
What if we took a Sabbath rest,
trust God provides and knows what is best
What if we only used what we need,
leaving some fruit at the edge of the field
What if we cancelled everyone’s debt,
the slave could be free, the slate would be clean
In each generation gave back the land to whom it belonged,
a once in a lifetime chance