Jubilee! We’ve used the word a lot and attached it to 50 years, but what was Jubilee about other than a marker of time? We’re not celebrating Jubilee only because Chapel Hill began as a church 50 years ago. We are celebrating Jubilee because we want to proclaim something unique about who we are as the people of God, the God of Jubilee.
Leviticus 25 records God’s instructions about Jubilee. It was to be a year of rest and celebration! Our staff has had a chance to rest once a month because volunteers have brought us meals! Thank you! But Jubilee wasn’t about resting once a month, it was about not working for an entire year. Can you imagine that?! Leviticus talks about not working mostly as not planting. But we have chosen to plant a Jubilee garden instead because of one of the other key characteristics of Jubilee.
Jubilee also served as a year of amazing proclamations for the downtrodden and needy in the community. Debts were to be wiped out. Just like with a red pen, crossed out, no questions asked. Done! Anyone who had been forced to sell his land got it back. Can you imagine the bank giving your foreclosed home back to you? Slaves were set free! Released every Jubilee year! People had food to eat that the land produced on its own. We want to be a Jubilee community that makes sure no one in our community is unfed. So SOAR and our facilities team planted the garden whose produce goes to F.I.S.H., the local food bank, to feed our community.
So Jubilee was about rest, freedom, provision, and also celebration. It wasn’t celebration in the pagan sense, but celebration in the worship sense. We have gathered for prayer, music, and meals every month with Jubilee Prayer & Potluck. I like to think that’s what the Jubilee celebration looked like! We want to do experience the celebration aspect of Jubilee even more this summer and fall.
The first August celebration of Jubilee will be Sunday, August 18th at 5:00pm. Think of it as the “Prayer” part of our monthly “Prayer and Potluck” gatherings. Join us down by the old ferry landing past Green Turtle restaurant for singing, prayer, and 9 public baptisms in the Sound. We welcome you to come by boat near the shore or park at the post office and walk down to join us.
Then the next day, Monday, August 19th from 5-7pm will be the “Potluck” half of the celebration at Skansie Park. We want to share with the community what Jubilee is and what a Jubilee celebration looks like! So we will have live music and worship, food for the hungry, blankets for the weary, games for those ready to party, and ministries that proclaim freedom from slavery, release from debt, and restoration of the family.
God is the author of Jubilee. It was His idea to proclaim liberty, rest and celebration. We are God’s people. We are the people who proclaim God’s Jubilee into this community. So yes, Chapel Hill has been a church for 50 years. It is our Jubilee year. But even more, we are God’s Jubilee people. Let’s celebrate like we are!!