God sent me to announce the year of his grace — a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies — and to comfort all who mourn,
Isa 61:2 (Message)
Show us Father God how to proclaim Good News through actions as well as words so that we can work for justice and peace.
We welcome our preacher this morning who is Mr Jim Wells
After service tea hosts Myra and Barb
Our thanks for the flowers this morning which are given by Ann Moss in memory of her mother May Evans
Organist: Joan McGowan
Sunday 17th April
11.00am Rev John Wiggall (P, AAW)
Vestry Steward – Ian and Elizabeth
Door Steward – Betti
Tea Hosts – Val and Betti
Mon 11th Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Wed 13th Midweek Communion at Regent Street 11.15am
Thu 14th Circuit Men’s Supper at Regent Street 7.00pm
Fri 15th Charity sale for Nightingale House, Llangollen 10.00am
Fri 15th Friday Lunch Club in the Hall at noon £3.00, please note the increase in price
Fri 15th Cabaret in the Hall 7.30pm £5, Alan Birchall and Derek Harrison entertain
Sat 16th Charity sale for Nightingale House, Llangollen 10.00am
Wed 20th Concert at Regent Street 7.00pm, in aid of Annie, Mary and James
Wed 27th “Time Out” a monthly reflective worship at Hope Parish Church 7.30pm (4th Wed in the month)
Please pray for the following:
Pete and Ruby Kasprowicz
All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.
Those of you who know Cynthia from the Lunch Club will be saddened by the news of her death. Cynthia’s funeral will take place at Gwersyllt Parish Church at 1.00pm on Mon 18th April.
Repurposing the Promise of Release
Jesus quotes this Isaiah text in Luke 4:16 as sort of his mission statement. And it seems like really Good News. The Lord has anointed Jesus to bring this good news the oppressed, the brokenhearted, the captives, and the prisoners. The year of the Lord’s favour has arrived.
Jesus via Isaiah is referencing Leviticus 25’s description of the Year of Jubilee. This is commanded to take place every fiftieth year. During this amazing year, justice and equanimity is supposed to reign. All debts are forgiven; the captives go free; the prisoners are released; and nobody does any work.
The Year of Jubilee was designed to be a sort of social reset button. It is a control against the amassing of wealth and power—an acknowledgement of and correction to our tendencies toward corruption. When too much is controlled by too few, it usually turns out very bad for the many.
Push the Button or Push it Off?
This does seem like good news, like miraculous news.
The only problem is that there is no record of it ever happening. Perhaps it is because the few with the wealth and power where the ones responsible for declaring the Year of Jubilee.
When Jesus proclaims the coming of Jubilee with his coming, it seems like a radical, resurrecting of the concept. It is a promise of relief sorely needed in occupied Palestine, where the religious leaders practiced the rule of oppression as well as Rome. But it never happened.
So now when we preach on this text, whether from Isaiah or as quoted by Jesus in Luke, we sort of have to explain that it doesn’t mean now, or really. It is something that will happen in the fullness of time or something that happens spiritually, but not physically in the real world. Unless, of course, we can figure out how to push the reset button.
The Hardest Question
It is clear in Leviticus that the Year of Jubilee was meant to be an actual realignment of wealth and power. Chapter 25 gives detailed instruction regarding land, debt, slaves, prisoners and all kinds of other very concrete real world things. It is sort of disheartening to have to repurpose an actual jubilee as a spiritual—someday—jubilee.
How long can we continue to push into the future God’s promise of justice for the oppressed before it becomes meaningless?
Russell Rathbun, Preacher at House of Mercy, St Paul, Minnesota, USA