Christmas presents to us an opportunity afresh to be born within the Good News - that God entered the world as a baby to reset what has been broken. Upside-down divine logic sends God to live and die as one of God's own creations in order to save and redeem them. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus's first act of public ministry is to proclaim that his mission is to "bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captive, sight to the blind, release those imprisoned, and proclaim the time of God's favor." This time of God's favor, a year of jubilee, was not something Jesus made up but was a known concept to the hearers of Jesus's teaching. The idea of a jubilee year comes from Leviticus, a Hebrew Bible book of laws and regulations. At the end of seven seven-year cycles (7x7=49), the fiftieth year is proclaimed to be the year the slaves are sent home again to their families, captured properties turned over to their original owners, and all debts forgiven. Jubilee makes space for all of us to experience life-giving renewal in our ordinary, day-to-day lives.
I am so longing for a jubilee year. I long for our world to moved to act against injustice in any form. I long for those I love and care for who are imprisoned (literally and metaphorically) to be free. For many of my millennial peers who are ensnared by mountains of debt and for end-of-career age people unable to retire because of debt, I long for debt to not be the measure by which we are forced to order our days. I know I'm not alone in these longings. I hear many in our congregation express specific anxieties and general worries about the future.
Metropolitan Community Churches is entering the fiftieth year of ministry as a denomination, and I pray that as a church body rooted in the values of salvation, community, and Christian social action that we take seriously what jubilee might mean for us. This Sunday's sermon will discuss our shared history and explore what jubilee might mean for us as individuals and church community. I pray we can join together to proclaim next year as the year of the Lord's favor and feel the security and hope that Christmas assures us.