Blowing Your Own Trumpet: The True Meaning of ‘Jubilee’   Leave a comment

I’m not good at ‘blowing my own trumpet’, so they tell me. I’m too shy. The British aren’t generally good at it. We have a reputation for ‘reserve’, which we perhaps deserve! Though I can think of some Kings and Prime Ministers who haven’t done too badly at it blowing their own trumpets, our current Queen doesn’t like being the centre of attention, so a four-day event to mark her sixty years as monarch is not, as she sees it, for herself, but for her people.

 

In its origins, the word ‘Jubilee‘ has nothing to do with monarchy. The word was ‘coined’ when Moses received ‘the Law’, long before God reluctantly agreed to let the Hebrews anoint an earthly king to rule over them. Every fiftieth year in Israel was to be a year when the trumpet was, quite literally, blown, to proclaim Liberty to all Israelites who were slaves and the restoration of ancestral property. The land was to remain fallow (Leviticus 25). There is doubt as to whether these laws were ever seriously kept, but the spirit of them was honoured, especially in the way David treated the family of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel), as well as in the story of Naomi and Ruth. Kinship ties were very closely related to property-holding for rich and poor alike, and there were strict rules about the buying and selling of land:

 

“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.” (Lev 25:23).

 

“If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money interest or sell him food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, that brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

 

“If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave. He is to be treated as a hired worker or a temporary resident among you: he is to work for you until the year of the Jubilee. Then he and his children are to be released, and he will go back to his own kin and to the property of his forefathers. Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.”  (Lev 25: 35-42)

 

The true meaning of Jubilee is that we each have a ‘stake’ in our land, not as permanent owners, because the earth is the Lord’s and we are merely tenants. Even the Queen. Even though we may sell our labour, we are not slaves, and can never be made so by our fellow countrymen. We are all subjects of the Queen, and she is subject to God, as we are. She is the ‘chief’ stake-holder in the land, whose role is to maintain the Liberty of her subjects. Just by being there, she does that. We know that she would not give her assent to any Law which threatened this Liberty, though it has always been enough for her to exercise this power without having to invoke her authority. So, even if some of her subjects would still like to replace her as Head of State and Governor of the Church, we can all still celebrate the past sixty years of Liberty, especially when we look back to the threats posed to it in the troubled sixteen years of her father’s reign. Britons will never surrender to slavery! Amen.

 

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Posted June 3, 2012 by TeamBritanniaHu in Uncategorized

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