From the Editor: Jubilee

by Beth Richardson on October 30, 2014 · 0 comments


One of my favorite songs is based on the text from Luke 4:18-19 when Jesus, preaching in his hometown synagogue, reads from the scroll of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim he year of the Lord’s favor.”

“The year of the Lord’s favor” is the year of jubilee — that sacred time every fiftieth year when all debts are forgiven, all prisoners freed, all property returned to its original owner.

Jesus reads from the scroll and then ends his very short sermon saying, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (vs. 21). I was so attracted to this proclamation by Jesus in the beginning of his ministry. Jesus brought the fulfillment of the year of jubilee, proclaiming freedom to those oppressed, those wounded, of those in bondage. And he lived out this calling and called us to follow him in doing justice.

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I’m excited to introduce you to Beth Gaede as the contributing editor for this issue. Beth is a clergyperson in the Lutheran church (ELCA)and a long-time book editor with the Alban Institute. Beth lives in western Wisconsin and enjoys photography, travel, fly fishing, canoeing, and learning Spanish, in addition to working with words. We’ve been getting to know each other through Skype conversations and have found that editing and creativity come easily to persons named Beth.

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From Beth Gaede, Contributing Editor

When Beth and I began talking about my serving as contributing editor for this issue of Alive Now, the theme of jubilee immediately spoke to me. The word called to mind both God’s call for us to practice justice and reconciliation, and the many ways our relationship with God brings us hope. The image offers us both a challenge and an invitation, perfectly capturing the spirit of Advent.

Jubilee and Advent together reflect the both/and-ness of God and our own faith journey. God speaks to us as people of power, individuals and communities with the resources and abilities to serve alongside God and bring about the realm of God on this earth. So we are required “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

At the same time as God requires much of us, the proud and mighty, God has compassion for us in our powerlessness and brokenness, our own need for love and care. In God’s eyes, we are also the meek and hungry. But our merciful God frees us from all that enslaves us.

The days of Advent draw near. The season of waiting is upon us. As we enter the season, we fall on our knees, heads bowed, laid low by our own power and privilege. And we lay claim to God’s loving-kindness and lift up our heads. We celebrate God’s abundant reconciling work to restore all creation — revealed in the babe of Bethlehem and promised in the fullness of time.

Credit: “From the Editor” by Beth A. Richardson in November/December 2014 Alive Now. Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room. Purchase a copy of this issue on “Jubilee” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Or download the digital issue today.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/iStock.

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