Speaking Of Life 1009 | Turn Your Phone to “Jubilee” Mode
Have you ever noticed that REST is the most neglected spiritual discipline in our day and age? Everywhere we look there is input from the internet, television and radio. And now our phones give us access right in our pocket all day! Work weeks are going up, input is constant, and time with family and close friends is constantly being invaded. It’s no surprise the sleeping pill industry is SKYROCKETING. One study estimated that the sleep industry, as it’s called, makes over $32 BILLION DOLLARS per year in the US alone! As a people, we’ve forgotten how to rest.
Having a smart phone means that I am always available 24/7. On one hand this tool allows me to be incredibly productive, and on the other hand, if not handled with care, it becomes a taskmaster robbing me of peace and rest. Over time, I have learned to switch my phone to airplane mode once I get to a certain point in the evening, and not turn it back on until I get to the office.
In our lectionary reading today from Luke 4, Jesus touches on the theme of rest within the life of Israel.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus stands up to read these words in the synagogue in Luke 4. Characteristic of him, they are out of sync — this isn’t the reading for that day. But Jesus’ conclusion is all the more shocking: TODAY this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
The Year of the Lord’s Favor refers to the Jewish tradition of the Jubilee year. The Jubilee year was to be observed every 50th year, with the formula being that it was every “seven times seven years.” This time was marked by liberation. Indentured servants were to be freed, leased land was to be returned to its original owners, and the fields were to lay fallow. People were to live off the stores they had, and the fruits that grew naturally in the land.
Sharing and togetherness, as well as rest and relationship, would be the themes of the day. To rest in that time meant to trust that what they had stored would be enough for them, and what the land provided would be enough as well. In short, it was an act of TRUST in God’s provision.
And so why is Jesus referring to this Jewish practice on this particular day in a synagogue in a small town? As with all Israelite practices, these things all pointed in a certain direction. They were signposts and symbols of YHWH’s deliverance that was going to come. They were a people in waiting.
Jesus’ conclusion, which caused a HUSH to go through the crowd, was that the year of Jubilee was HERE, being “fulfilled” IN HIM. God’s rest is here, freedom and redemption will be completed in the work of Christ.
Let’s live then, as God’s resting people, in the permanent year of Jubilee. Christ came to proclaim OUR LIBERATION. As slaves we’re to be liberated in the Jubilee from the cruelest master ever, ourselves. The year of Jubilee has been proclaimed, and we live now in simple trust and rest as we wait his return. What does it mean to be people of the Jubilee? What does it mean, in a restless world, to rest in God?