Celebrate God’s world

Guest Columnist

Year of Jubilee, Sabbath can be integrated into daily life


God’s idea of celebration looks vastly different from our human idea of celebration.

While mainstream parties are geared towards overindulgence, God’s celebrations are described in Leviticus as being geared towards restoration and reunion.

For example, the year of jubilee begins at the start of every 50th year.

It is an entire 12 months of living with the full intention that comes from knowing God, completely forgiving debts, and giving rest to the land that sustains us.

Because it happens only every 50 years, it is a once in a lifetime event meant to radically reset the habits and customs the Israelites had fallen into.

In the year of jubilee, caring for creation and caring for others was the central focus; the Israelites were to live in steadfast faith that God created the earth to perfectly meet their needs.

Clearly, as modern day Christians, we don’t keep a year of jubilee, and neither did the Israelites; likely because of the complete societal overhaul it would require.

But the concept of the year of jubilee can still be instructive for us and even tell us more about who God is.

Many of us claim that we want to care for others, care for the planet and care for ourselves.

God has given us a way to do this, the Sabbath, a weekly ritual to slow down and remind ourselves of who we are as believers and what we are mandated to do because of our faith. The year of jubilee is merely an extension of this concept.

What would it mean for us if we tried to integrate the Sabbath and the year of jubilee into our modern day lives?

The year of jubilee may have been meant to occur once in a lifetime, but that does not mean there is nothing that we can do to carry the spirit of jubilee with us as we go about our daily lives.

We make choices everyday that may seem insignificant but add up in the long run. Is it possible for us to walk, bike or take public transportation to our destination? Must we buy the produce that is pre-peeled, pre-sliced and comes packaged in plastic that it would not otherwise need?

Is it too big of a hassle to store and use leftovers, or to compost?

We often forget that all of creation belongs to God. All of the things we claim ownership over come from the earth, which ultimately comes from God.

Though God gave us the land to live on, we should not take it for granted and treat it poorly. It is ours only temporarily, to be passed on to the next generations. To treat our inheritors fairly, we should be passing on an earth that is well cared for.

With this in mind, we should be passing on the spirit of jubilee to our earthly successors as well, and teaching them that respecting the earth is an act of Godly celebration.

Even for those who do not own and work land, we need to be mindful of all our possessions and the footprint that they may have.

At what cost to creation, both to the land and other humans, do we have our possessions? How often do we let convenience make our decisions for us?