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Our Year of Jubilee Posted 11.14.2014

As we see the end of 2014 approaching, it is the end of our Golden Year.  Of course, being someone who can be a little slow to catch on – we should have called this our “Year of Jubilee.”  In the Old Testament, the year of Jubilee is a unique year.  In Leviticus, that year was to repeat every fifty year.  Slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts forgiven, and the mercies of God particularly manifested.  It must have had a huge impact on the economy and families and life.  It was a year of celebration.

 

The tradition of celebration runs deep in the Bible.  The five offerings that open Leviticus teach us how to approach God under the Old Covenant, but include some serious partying.  When I was in my last year of seminary, the last preaching course we took was called Senior Preaching.  One of the assignments was to preach (without notes) our longest sermon every (like…20 minutes I suppose).  But there is a bit of a preaching derby going on during those classes since the top five preachers were invited to speak in chapel for the entire seminary.  Talk about akward.

 

Anyway, I was fairly (and accurately) certain that I wouldn’t be in the running for one of those preaching spots in chapel (and really would rather not have that pressure anyway).  So I decided to go radical in my passage selection.  There were lots of familiar passages preached, but I’m pretty sure no had selected my text.  Maybe even until today.  I selected Leviticus 3, the peace offering.  Ever since, I have threatened to do a series some day on those five offerings.  Some day.  But this is not that day.  They are really quite fascinating….and filled with biblical truth.

 

But I learned something in preparation for that message.  Some of the offerings were designed to bring out the party in us, which is exactly what Jubilee was supposed to do.  God designed some week-long festivals with food and fellowship and God at the center of it all.  I concluded that what we do at Thanksgiving each year is actually a very biblical practice.  It’s just too short.  God asked Israel to feast every once in a while – as a testimony of thanksgiving to God.  Our gratefulness needs to not just be on our lips, but in our lives.

 

So that is really what next weekend is about for Peninsula.  In this, our year of Jubilee, God wants us to celebrate Him.  It is time to give thanks to Him for His faithful love.  So we are going to spread the table with food next Sunday morning and change up our routine – that God might get our attention, and we might offer to Him our worship for what He has done.  We won’t be sacrificing any animals – the perfect sacrifice has already replaced all of that.  But, I hope you come.  And I hope you come ready to celebrate God, our helper.  It’s acceptable to Him that we party together.  I am so ready for that day.


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