So many things begin with a good idea. In fact, many good ideas are not good ideas at all, but visions of a preferred future.
Take Christmas, for instance. God’s creation has been bathed in God’s love and grace since before it was formed. Yet, God’s restless vision of Paradise restored, a place where Shalom is the guiding principle, has faltered. God may well have wondered, "What if my very essence came in human form and dwelt among My creation? What if that human came as a defenseless infant instead of a warrior king? What if, rather than telling them my dream for them, I showed them? What if love, to the point of sacrifice, was the prime motivator for life? If they could see it, could they embrace it? If so, could they live into it? Could we realize my vision for my world?"
Of course, a guardrail would be needed because humans have a tendency toward amnesia. Even divine visions become “humanfied,” then bent out of shape. So, Jubilee is part of the Torah (Deuteronomy 25). Every 49 or 50 years, a year of the Lord’s favor is prescribed and culture is reset. It is declared at least twice in Scripture, first in Isaiah 61, then Luke 4. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon, probably Cyrus (Isaiah 45), then Jesus. They both declare a time of reset; when Jubilee happens and society makes correction. God’s people are called to consciously revision their life together and work toward that vision.
Take Advent, for instance. It is a season, consisting of the four weeks prior to Christmas, when we wait, we watch, and we prepare for the coming of the One Who Is to Come. I have suggested that we all need to take opportunity to slow down, to check out, and to contemplate what it means to once again receive the gift of the Christ child. This week, as we consider Jubilee, I want to give us permission to dream dreams and to see visions. What would it look like if shalom became our primary value? What would it look like if the least and lost actually became our concern? What if justice actually became just? What might it look like if Jubilee, the year of the Lord’s favor, was declared? Impossible? God doesn’t seem to think so—and neither should we.
Our text for Sunday is the day of the Lord’s favor from Isaiah 61. Dare to prepare, dare to dream, dare to vision. Dare to receive God’s gift.
See you Sunday,
PS: The Advent study continues at 9:00 am in the Cook Room.