Reflection for Monday 6th June 2022

The Rev’d Penny Body

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Reading – Leviticus chapter 25 verses 8 to 12

8 “‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

Reflection

Yesterday we celebrated the day of Pentecost and the culmination of our celebrations for our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. So I thought today we might look briefly at both the biblical and national concept of Jubilee – how they link with Pentecost – and how we might ponder these things today.

The festival of Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter Sunday and is related to the Jewish “Festival of Weeks” – the day after 7 days of weeks (7×7), also celebrating the first fruits of the grain harvest. In the Christian church it is the celebration of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples with tongues of flame, and the birthday of the church marking as it does, the beginning of the church’s mission to the world.

The year of Jubilee comes every fifty years – coming in the year after the seventh Sabbath year. So both festivals are related to God’s rhythm and time – his pattern of creation – where in six days he created the world and on the seventh day he rested.

The Sabbath day is given to us as a weekly day for rest and re-creation – for focusing our lives more intently upon God in prayer and holiness. The Sabbath year is given for the similar rest of the land. As we have come to know the land is a finite resource and needs time – like us and all things – to rest and be replenished.

The Jubilee is thus like a massive Sabbath year where not only the land is given rest – but people return to their ancestral land, slaves are released, debts are forgiven, land returns to its original owners.

And as we have celebrated our Queen’s Jubilee – in awe and gratitude for her life and service – knowing how much strength she finds in God and living by the power of the Holy Spirit – so too communities have come together, families have visited each other and good will has reigned in many hearts. It has brought a pause in the normal routine of our lives, if not a rest (!), and a re-assessment of what is important in our national life.

Biblical Jubilee is a time of complete re-setting for people, land and society. And Pentecost too is a time of annual re-setting for us and just as our human birthdays mark the beginning of another year in our lives – and perhaps come with celebration and maybe some particular hopes for the future – so the church’s birthday is also a time of celebration and looking forward. It marks a return to “Green time” in the church’s liturgical year of colours – the end of the Easter season of remembering Jesus’s mission, in person, to earth, and the coming of the new time of the Holy Spirit, where the Father and the Son are with us always in the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

So perhaps in these days after our celebrations of Pentecost and Jubilee – we might think about what is important and what might need re-setting in our own lives.

In terms of the forgiveness and freedom proclaimed by the Jubilee – are their debts we might need to forgive – trespasses against us? Are there things we are enslaved to from which we need to be set free?

In celebration of the Sabbath of Sabbaths – what areas of our lives need to be rested and allowed to rejuvenate? In terms of our care for creation – how can we rest our demands on the resources of the land and live less costly lives? And as we use “what the land yields naturally”, what are the gifts and talents that God has given us naturally to use in his service?

In Jubilee, liberty is proclaimed throughout the land. The Holy Spirit is also known as the Spirit who leads us to freedom. As St Paul says in 2 Cor 3.17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”.

May this time of Jubilee and Pentecost herald a new time of freedom for us, for our land, and for all people living under so many forms of violent oppression. Amen

In our Wayfarers group this afternoon we shall be thinking about some of these themes in more depth – we meet from 2 to 4 pm in the hall at Holy Trinity – you are most welcome to come and join in if you would like to.

Collect for Pentecost Day

O Lord, from whom all good things come:
grant to us your humble servants,
that by your holy inspiration
we may think those things that are good,
and by your merciful guiding may perform the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.