Monday Scripture Isaiah 61: 1-2
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me...to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
Monday Quote - C. Rene Padilla
1. God's purpose for humanity and the creation remains unchanged,
and one of the essential elements of that purpose is that human relations,including those that have to do with economics, be based on love and justice.
3. The basic problems that hindered human relationships in biblical
times continue to obstruct human relationships today: the abuse of power, the ambition for material gain, the exploitation of the poor.
The first two Sundays of Advent we heard prophets make grand promises in the face of calamity. Jeremiah, faced with the Babylonian exile, promised a new covenant born from the new heart God would give to the people of Israel. A new heart was promised. Joel, faced with either natural disaster or socio-political threat (invading armies) promised that God would pour out the Spirit and give dreams and visions to the people. Dreams meant the people would find hope in catastrophe and visions meant the people would discern the most faithful and wholesome way to respond to catastrophe. A purpose. Today, we begin to see these promises fulfilled.
There is so much 'good news' for us to explore in just eleven verses of Isaiah 61. But today we look at 'to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' This is a reference to the Jubilee year that we find referenced in many places, most specifically, Leviticus 25. This is a dream and a vision not only of spiritual but social renewal. Every 50 years according to God, Israel would forgive the debts of the poor, free indentured servants, return land sold because of debts to original owners, let the land lie fallow and restart their social and economic system so that justice could have a chance to flourish. The new heart and new Spirit promised by Jeremiah and Joel, according to Isaiah, would bring about not only a spiritual renewal but a social one as well.
In Luke 4 Jesus will quote Isaiah 61 in revealing his mission and ministry on earth. He has come to proclaim Jubilee, the year of the Lord's favor, a spiritual and social renewal. This means justice for all the poor and vulnerable who will be made part of a wholesome, merciful, community. As Christians, we look at Isaiah 61 and see it as fulfilled in Jesus. But it could also be read faithfully as a call for all disciples of Jesus. We too are called to embody and advocate for Jubilee; for fair wages and health care and welcome of the stranger and dignifying all of God's creation. Isaiah 61 reveals the details of the hope that Jeremiah and Joel have told us to have. It is a hope found in serving and advocating for the poor among us. It is the hope born when our spirituality connects us to the community around us through healing and wholesome relationships. The purpose of Advent is revealed to us. It is to encourage us to remember the birth of the one who made Jubilee his mission statement and then to pause and consider how we live out Jubilee as individuals and as a church community.
Monday Explore - Leviticus 25:1-28; Luke 4:14-30
Monday Prayer - Energetic God, active in creating and renewing. Use the joy of giving and receiving gifts this holiday season to inspire us to continue and even expand the many ways that we embody the mercy and generosity of Jubilee. Teach us to listen to the vulnerable, help us to make a place for them in our hearts and lives, and make us generous in word and deed toward those most in need.