Leviticus 25:10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you…
Luke 4:17-19 [Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
The fiftieth year. The year of Jubilee. Anything significant? Time to reflect, or say, “Just another year”? Time to start something new perhaps? Port Ban has celebrated its fiftieth year this year, but more of that in a later post. But the “fifty years” bit has caused me to reflect.
I was saved in a Pentecostal church nearly forty years ago, at a time when the charismatic renewal was starting to reach every denomination with its refocus on the works and power of the Holy Spirit. Exciting times, with long worship services and sermons. Meetings that people didn’t want to leave. But that was then. What about now? God has been stirring my heart with the thought that He wants us, more than ever, to reach out to the oppressed and bring the message of hope, the message of liberty. Not necessarily by handing out tracts on a street corner, though that might be right for some. Not necessarily by inviting people into church meetings, nice though it would be if numbers swelled. But by bringing liberty to the marginalised at all levels in our society. Setting people free with a kind word, an offer of prayer, a visit to the lonely, imprisoned in their homes or by their circumstances, showing them the Lord’s favour. Jesus went after those who were lost right where they were at, going about “His Father’s business”. In this generation, I don’t think it will be liturgies that will turn people to God. We’ve done that and it doesn’t work. It is God’s love stridently shining in a society becoming increasingly secularised and dark; where love is replaced by “benefits” and the hope of winning the lottery; where people turn to drugs and alcohol to fill an aching, loveless void inside; where the stockbroker and the homeless find themselves united by a poverty of spirit; where the “haves” increase in material comfort, and the “have-nots” become increasingly oppressed and forgotten. It is God’s love making a difference, penetrating into the darkest situation, turning hopelessness into new beginnings. A new realisation that this is the year of the Lord’s favour.