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UPDATED MONTHLY OCTOBER 2017
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It’s Harvest Festival season: how about this for a different approach? We’ve just
celebrated 50 years of the Bromyard Folk Festival and, once again, at St. Peter’s
we were delighted to welcome visiting ‘folkies’ to our church for the traditional
festival service. Some of those present could go all the way back to the very first
festival in 1968 and there was a lot of reminiscing about happy times past. It wasn’t
difficult to decide on a theme for the service: celebration. In fact, every time
I spoke the word, the band struck up! But it got the point over.
We looked at a remarkable passage of the Bible, from the Book of Leviticus, which
tells the Israelites to hold a Year of Jubilee every 50 years. It was to be a holy
year when everyone returned to their homes, did not work, grew no crops, returned
any property belonging originally to another person and ‘proclaimed liberty’. (The
word ‘jubilee’ is Hebrew for ‘ram’s horn’, a trumpet, something which would have
been sounded regularly during the year.)
The Jubilee was, therefore, a highly radical celebration. It was so utterly different
that it’s not surprising that there is no record of it ever having been observed
in practice, which is sad. Instead, it was picked up by Jesus who, highlighting this
Old Testament principle, announced that he had come to ‘proclaim the year of the
Lord’s favour’, meaning a time of blessing, restoration, and forgiveness. What Jesus
proclaimed, he is now working out: every time we pray, in the Lord’s Prayer, Your
kingdom come, we are asking God to bring about this amazing turnaround. And it will
come to completion one day when Jesus returns.
So, how can you and I ‘proclaim liberty’ today? We all love to celebrate: birthdays,
anniversaries, successes and achievements, Christmas, Easter and Harvest. How about
doing something radical as we celebrate? It’s in this spirit that President Obama
celebrated the end of his two terms in office as US President. He proclaimed an amnesty
for a number of prisoners – quite scandalously, in some cases, we read. Why? Well,
whatever his mixed motives, it was borne out of this Jubiliee Principle: doing something
to someone which they don’t deserve.
Because this is exactly what God has done for you and me in Jesus. He has blessed
us, restored us, forgiven us. Not because we earned it, or deserved it, but because
he loves us.
And you and I? What can we do? Here are some suggestions. How about giving something
away? How about cancelling a debt someone owes to you? How about forgiving someone
who has done you wrong? Imagine if we all practised these things even in small ways?
The effect would be amazing and transforming.
It’s good to do this at harvest-time, but it’s great to do so at any time.
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. Then thank the Lord, O thank
the Lord, for all his love. What better way of thanking than this kind of doing?
Take a look at our ‘Events’ page.
September is upon us, the holiday season is ending and so things are beginning to
take off. Spend a couple of minutes looking at our events page. Clive brings ‘Alpha’
to our attention above….but there’s more…………