It still is the year of Jubilee

Towards the end of last year, there was a lot of hype about this being our year of jubilee. I caught on with the hype and was really looking forward to this year, to celebrate 50 years of independence, no mean act. Up until the year happened and life begun to unfold itself, and we even had a jubilee government; and somewhere along the way all this hype and excitement ended.

Disillusioned

Somewhere along the way my mind has focused on the many things that should by now be working out for our nation. I focused on the many things that by now should be working out yet they still are not; the insecurity, the lawlessness, the governance issues, the corruption, the fact that we have leaders who are hell-bent at earning as much as they can from their public service, at the expense of an economy whose wage bill is ridiculous. I focused on what I see when I visit some towns outside Nairobi, such poverty that it reminds me why we are still a 3rd world country. I am amazed at that in this day and age, in many parts of this capital city, provision of basic needs like water and electricity is such a real need. I know a few months from now; we will have images of such dire hunger on my television, that I will be left wondering how this is still possible! 50 years down the line and this country still has such significant challenges that I still cannot fully tabulate them.  Somewhere along the way these challenges overwhelmed my desire to be excited about jubilee.

The same thing happened in my personal walk. I started the year with all the hype and excitement and expectation of a jubilee year. I was pregnant with expectation. As the year wore on, one by one I watched some of the expectations and excitements get crashed. I began to wonder if I had set myself up for disappointment. I began to wonder what was the big deal with the year of jubilee was. In the end, it became easier to pretend this is not a jubilee year, just another year to get by.

But the thing I am realizing is, despite and inspite, I still have a lot to celebrate for this jubilee year. I have grown spiritually through the muddles of life. I have gotten to know the Lord better. I have had some personal victories that are easy to look over because some were not met. I have had a walk with the Lord that I truly celebrate. I have been the apple of His eyes too many times. He has fought for me some personal battles. He has been ever-present even when I was too disillusioned to care.

And the same thing applies to the nation. We may have had some raw deals in the last 50 years, and we should by all means be up in arms against these, but let us not allow these raw deals to rob us of what has been the Lord’s eye upon this our nation.

The strides

We have made strides in our democracy in the 50 years, strides that took developed nations many more years to make. We have a celebrated human capital, a people who are known across Africa as great minded. We are a zealous people. We have gone through many tragedies, yet somehow we have always emerged the other side more determined to have a better Kenya. We all somehow love this nation to bits, we know we are blessed to call it home.

We have made strides in our infrastructure, yer I had to throw in the super highway there.

We have made tremendous steps in financial services; the level of financial deepening is higher in Kenya than many other countries.

And let us not forget the pride of our nation, the great success of mobile banking; a success that many are trying to emulate. Oh and did I mention our ICT, we have made technological advances that are very relevant to us, not copied but true to us. Let us not even get into the oil and fresh water discoveries in the year. God has been good to this nation; to not see this is to allow the misses to have a field day.

So I celebrate

So I celebrate all that God has done for this nation in the last 50 years. I celebrate that His hand has ALWAYS been upon us. I celebrate that even in our foolishness, and we all know we have had a lot of foolishness, He has remained so faithful. So I am jubilant, mainly for the Hand of God over this land that I so dearly love.

And as I celebrate, I find myself asking what God had in mind when He commanded the Israelites to celebrate jubilee. “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.”

What does all this mean in the context of our society I have asked? This sermon brought it home for me>>>Kenya@50

Simplicity, solidarity and sharing (extracts of the sermon)

Jubilee was about: Simplicity, Solidarity and sharing!

Jubilee called those who had property to release them and live with less. It called for solidarity. It invited those who had to property to live with less and be responsible for others. In my world, this means being responsible for a relative, a workmate, a worker, a neighbor etc. It says, “you are my brother, we help each other. We rise together, we belong.”

Jubilee called for debt cancellation which meant adjusting accounts. In Isaiah 58, God trashed a personal righteousness that feels nothing for social justice. James says true religion includes sharing with those in need. Start with stuff at home. Distribute extra clothes and shoes and cars and furniture and food.

It called for resting from farming which meant no income, in effect inviting a life of simplicity.  Jesus modeled this life of simplicity. Materialism has complicated life. We are in a race to accumulate, to own and to keep. Jubilee calls for simplicity!

“All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time, those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostle’s feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 4:32, 34-35)That is jubilee

 My jubilee way

So as we celebrate this jubilee, my desire and prayer is stand in solidarity with someone else. My desire is that I share what the Lord has blessed me this year with someone else. My desire is to be the vessel God uses to remind someone else that He still loves them. In between the hype of all the activities that are planned to celebrate Kenya@50, my desire is for simple, easy ways to be a blessing to someone else.

We all can do this in our worlds, find ways to truly live out the principles of Jubilee; to go back to the basics and make this Jubilee what it always was meant to be, about the less fortunate and trodden. As I read the verses about Jubilee, what I hear is a desire of a Father to lift the lives of all. It is a desire for a society to care for weak, the poor, the ones in prison, the orphans. What I hear is the desire of a Father to have the society self-evaluate every 7 years, and remember they all have a role to play in their society.

In my country we have been trodden by the ‘government should do this or that’ mentality. We have been trodden by the attitude that I am not any less fortunate than the next, that I also do not have enough. Yet as I read the many readings on Jubilee, what I see is a God who deals with individuals and is about individuals being part of the society.

So we have organized some activities in our prison this weekend. I know we all can play the role the Lord envisaged for Jubilee. What is in your hands? Use it to be a blessing to another, an army of givers. Because it still is jubilee.

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