2022 is not just a year for the Queen to have a Jubilee
The rules set out for Israel in the Old Testament, include a special year called the ‘Jubilee’ which took place every 50 years (you can read about it in Leviticus Chapter 25). God had set out a ‘Sabbath’ pattern for Israel’s life (one day a week for people to rest, one year every seven years when the land was allowed to lie fallow). This culminated in the 50th year being a ‘Jubilee’.
During this year two important things would happen. Any land that people had sold during the previous 49 years was returned to its original owners. And if anyone had been sold into slavery (which could often happen when people were facing poverty), they would be set free. These actions must have had a huge economic and social impact at the time as they ‘reset’ the lives of people and whole communities.
Yorkshire Synod’s Jubilee Year
Last October the synod meeting agreed to treat the URC’s 50th anniversary year like a Jubilee year. As we are looking back and remembering the last 50 years, we will also take the opportunity to reset, or re-evaluate our relationships with God, ourselves, and the world around us. These relationships are the core of our mission as Christians and as churches in the world. And so ‘mission’ will be the focus of our attention, as we look at being a ‘missional synod’.
We are all called (as individuals, churches and as a synod) to join in God’s mission in this world. This year is a time to think again about what we are really here for (a question that we were already faced with in a rapidly changing world, even before COVID). We will be celebrating the different ways we are already responding to God’s call, but also looking for what new paths God might be inviting us to take next.
What will this year look like?
This is not a new scheme or process for you or your church to sign up to. This year will be a time for prayer, conversation and discernment for us all together, before we think about what actions we might take in our own situations. Look out for weekly stories, thoughts and ideas here on the website, about mission in the synod. I will also be following up the Moderator’s recent letter about being a ‘Missional Synod’ and I look forward to hearing more about what you are up to. Please get in touch with me first if you have something to share, or you would like to find out more – and add your thoughts or comments below.
In 2022, as we celebrate the last 50 years of the URC, may we also find rest, remember our dependence on God, and be set free from things that might hold us back as we look to the future.
Jon Steel (Synod Mission Advocate) firstname.lastname@example.org