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Friday, July 01, 2011


A week ago, I entered my year of Jubilee.  Most likely my only one, unless I live to be 99, which is not very likely.  7 x 7.  I think it's supposed to be about rest, which is ironic, because I haven't even had a moment to think about it until now.  Last weekend's call blended into one of those Mondays that ran into another call on Tuesday that spilled over into a Wednesday morning when the other paediatricians all had extenuating circumstances and so I found myself with the terrible responsibility of stopping unsuccessful CPR on a 1 1/2 year old boy and then turning around and taking his soon-to-follow 1 1/2 year old room mate to the ICU where I intubated her.  I had to tell two families within 12 hours that their child had died, which is as always a holy but wrenching moment.  I also spent solid portions of both Sunday's and Tuesday's call on a punky preemie, one of those babies who just keeps teetering on the edge of existence, including sitting several hours by her bedside and ventilating her until I was about to give up and she miraculously started breathing.   Thankfully Mardi stepped into the picture on Wednesday afternoon.  Since then, RVA clinic, a long morning hospital meeting, a couple of hours tracking down xrays and an ortho consult for Luke post-accident (persistent shoulder pain and limited motion, but seems to be all muscular, which he was certain of but at least I fell better about it now), some admin work, clothes-patching, and major cooking--two dinners for young people--one night two of Luke's returning classmates, and last night two young Kijabe doctors, all delightful people.

Which brings us to Friday at last.  To quiet and journaling and reflection and prayer, to the inhale that has to be deep enough to last for through the craziness.  To the beginning of Jubilee, a week late.  To Leviticus 25.  To more thoughts to follow, but here are some initial ones.  Jubilee is good news in the middle of life.  Jubilee is course-correction.  After 49 years of divergence from perfection, Jubilee is the time when God restores the broken, recovers the lost.  Inequalities are undone.  Resources are redistributed.  Grace is real.  Jubilee calls forth faith, the faith to live on God's provision only, the faith to refrain from striving, the faith to let go of what seemed like gain, to accept what seems undeserved.  Yes, there is some rest, for the land mostly, which reminds us that it belongs to God and not to us.  But liberty is the clarion call of Jubilee.  It is an act of proclamation, which culminates in Jesus as the incarnated Jubilee, proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor, good news for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, liberty for the captives, open prisons for the bound, comfort for those who mourn, beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Is 61 fulfilled in Luke 4).  

So perhaps the first week of my Jubilee isn't so far from a true celebration.  Breath for the flagging, fluids for the parched, encouragement for the youth.  A change from the past many years, a relocation, a letting go of most of my former work and responsibility and satisfaction.  The challenge will be to live on God's provision while still living out Jesus' mission, to live in rest in the midst of a restless world.  To return to what God has given, to be without a push to do.  To celebrate Jubilee personally without letting down a community that expects so much.  To balance the rest for my soul with the proclamation of liberty for others.  I'll get it wrong, most of the time, but that's the whole point here:  God steps into the 50th year and makes it all right again.  


Heather Pike Agnello said...

I love that last line - about getting it wrong most of the time, but of that being the whole point. It reminds me of that old Hudson Taylor quote - "I have striven in vain to rest in Him; I will strive no more." Happy belated Jubilee, friend:-).

Bethany said...

I'm thinking about John 4 today: Jesus saying to His disciples, "I have food to eat that you know nothing food is to do the will of Him who sent me." Praying that this Jubilee year, even with all of its busyness and expectations, will find you nourished and refreshed as you walk in the will of the One who faithfully guides us. Miss you!

Travis and Amy said...

A belated happy jubilee birthday to you! "Debts forgiven, slaves set free...Jesus is our Jubilee" Michael Card's voice sings in my head as I read your year of jubilee thoughts. May this year be one of new-found freedoms!
Amy for the Johnsons