July 10, 2011

the 10th day of the 7th month

My friend, Mira, just had a son, Augustine, at a birthing center in the Northwest U.S.  She posted a picture on Facebook of her son's name scrolled on a chalkboard at the birthing center, among other babies' names who were born there recently.  On the board, in the company of such names as "Ocean" and "Tetris Audio" (I am not kidding), was the name "Jubilee."  I smiled when I saw it, hoping her parents know the wonderful meaning of their little girl's new name.
The English word jubilee comes from the Hebrew word yobel meaning a trumpet or ram’s horn. These rams’ horns were blown on the Day of Atonement to announce the start of the year of jubilee. The word jubilee should not be confused with the word jubilation which comes from a Latin word meaning to rejoice.  Though the year of jubilee was, no doubt, a happy time, the similarities between the two words are coincidental (at least in human terms).  In the same way, though we are sure our daughter will be a happy child, and we hope for happiness for her, her name means so much more than that.
One of the most beautiful observances that GOD commanded of the Israelites was the keeping of the year of jubilee. Most people only celebrated it once in their lifetimes, some twice, as it only occurred every 50 years. Starting on the Day of Atonement (the 10th day of the 7th month), all who had sold themselves into slavery, to pay off their debts, were set free; and any land that had been sold reverted to its original owner. This meant that no Israelite could ever be in permanent slavery; nor could any Israelite permanently lose his inheritance.
I just love what this observance says about our G0D.  His heart is to release us from bondage, to restore to us that which was intended for us all along (true peace, true happiness, our true identity as sons and daughters of the MOST HIGH GOD).  Our debt requires payment, but rather than paying for it ourselves, he wipes the slate clean. He has already done that for our hearts, and someday soon He will do that for all of creation.  In my sweet Zion's tearful words, which he utters on tough days when nothing is going right for him, "I AM READY FOR THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH!!!!!"  Yes, my son, someday the yobel will sound a final time, and everything will be restored for good. 

Today is (at least according to our calendar) the 10th day of the 7th month.  Today, I am thinking about our little Jubilee.  We love you, sweetheart.  Things will not be the way they are much longer.