Since I have not been preparing a sermon for this week [Mike Meloy is preaching for our Jubilee Sunday celebration] I have had some time to reflect a little more on the meaning of Jubilee. As we have already observed, Jubilee is a fresh start—a new beginning. [You can refer to Leviticus 25 for the Biblical description of Jubilee] The name Jubilee refers to the blast of a ram’s horn called a shofar. In the fiftieth year, a shofar was carried throughout the land and blown to announce the beginning of the Jubilee year—the year of freedom—the year when all of God’s people would be released from debt and servitude. It is as if the sound of the shofar was gathering the people and calling them to return home the way a shepherd would blow the shofar to gather the sheep. In fact, Old Testament Scholar Everett Fox in a recent translation of the Five Books of Moses uses the term “Homebringing” for Jubilee.
So Jubilee is a homecoming year. There will be many opportunities over the coming year—including this Sunday—to visit and reconnect with others who have been a part of Huguenot Church over the years. I hope that you will take the opportunity this year—especially for one of our Jubilee events—to extend an invitation to those you know who have been involved in the life of our church—to call them home so that they can be a part of our celebration of ministry.
Jubilee is also a responsible year—a time that calls for a response. This release from debt and servitude—this fresh start—this new beginning—is an opportunity for God’s people to grow in faith. The observation of this fifty year cycle of Sabbath years and Jubilee reveals important aspects of the life of faith and our relationship with God.
A Jubilee faith is an obedient faith. Observing Jubilee, God’s people learn to be obedient to God’s law and God’s will. We can learn more about God’s will for us through prayer and study. We grow through our faithful participation in the life of the church as we become the vital community of faith God has called us to be.
A Jubilee faith is a dependent faith. In Sabbath and Jubilee years God’s people were not to sow or harvest the land. It was a time of complete rest for the land. The community could use only what the land produced without human intervention. In other words they could use only what God provided—they had to learn to depend on God. When we practice faithful dependence—not relying on our own resources, but on what God provides—we may just find that we have exactly what we need to be the fruitful community of faith God has called us to be.
I continue to pray that Jubilee will be a fresh start—a new beginning for Huguenot Church. May God grant that we continue to learn and grow to be the vital and fruitful community of faith God has called us to be as we celebrate 50 years of ministry through worship, fellowship, and service.
Grace & Peace, Pastor Rik