Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: Amos 5:4
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Spiritual Practice: Jubilee
A Jubilee Year is a biblical concept: it is a forgiveness of debt and a celebration of freedom that occurred in ancient Israel every 50 years. There was a regular seven year cycle of debt forgiveness, and of course, a seven day cycle of freedom to rest from labor, but then, basically once a generation, the entire system was reset. All debts were forgiven, across the land, even on behalf of the land. And everyone threw a huge party to mark the occasion.
In her book Receiving the Day, Dorthy Bass talks about the ways other places have celebrated Jubilee Years. “One community celebrates ‘Summer Jubilee’ inspired by the biblical concept of the jubilee year, the 50th year, in which the ancient Israelites were enjoined to forgive debts, restore land, and reconcile with one another (Leviticus 25). On this day, the fiftieth of this community’s summer season, people now work together on a land reclamation project, write letters asking for or offering forgiveness, and raising funds on behalf of an economically needy community elsewhere. They also have a big party. Creativity of this sort resists rigidity, rounding out the year in a way that speaks memory and hope to this particular community.”
Jubilee isn’t an “everyday” type spiritual practice, but it certainly impacts whole generations of people. How might your company celebrate Jubilee? What would Jubilee look like in your industry? In your community organization? In your various associations and clubs? In your family? Are you about to celebrate a 50, 100, 150 year anniversary that could offer you a platform to celebrate, forgive, and renew?
The whole quote for today from Kathryn Schifferdecker reads like this, “Jubilee, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, ensures that no one in Israel can become destitute forever, and that no one in Israel can become rich forever. The gap between the rich and poor cannot become too wide. Jubilee also means that no one is left without land and the means to provide for themselves and their families. Jubilee is not about charity; it is about justice.”
God, you meet us in our families,
In our companies,
In our organizations,
You meet us where there is freedom,
Where there is forgiveness,
Where debts disappear and life abundant emerges.
Help us to live a Jubilee lifestyle,
Or at least put us in tune with Jubilee possibilities
Of new ways of organizing our lives.