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On Monday this week, we had the last of our weekly summer children’s lessons on Compassion. There were many lessons from this curriculum that are applicable not just to children, but to all of us as followers of God. The final lesson focused on how compassion can give us a fresh start and looked at the book of Lamentations (don’t all great children’s stories begin there?) chapter 25.
What is Jubilee?
Lamentations 25 is the “Jubilee” chapter, and this is an important term for us to grasp even if we may never actually live out a Jubilee year. Jubilee includes rest, sabbath, fresh starts, and taking care of one another. In understanding these elements, we begin to see them as forms of compassion and justice.
One of the hardest parts of working in ministry is that it is almost by rule an overwhelming vocation. Often the job just feels too big, or it seems like I’m making too many mistakes in a row and I just feel overwhelmed. Of course, when these feelings come, I just want to hit the reset button. I want to try again, figure out a way to make everything right. When we think about a fresh start, we often think that we can just look over everything without the clutter of life and see how to proceed. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that. There will always be factors that skew our vision and keep us from being fully true to our desires for justice and peace.
Practicing Justice as a Fresh Start
So how do we “seek justice” when we know we are not going to be perfect? It begins with recognizing that no one is perfect. So justice means we give fresh starts where we are fair and honest with one another. We will take care of those who are sick, alone, old, or need help. We will welcome people who are from different backgrounds, and they will be like family. We will work for people’s freedom. We will all work together to help everyone rest and rejoice in God’s abundance. We will live into God’s promise of creation that we will all be fed and nourished by the land’s gifts.
Is this what you picture when you hear the word justice? Or do you imagine what happens when someone hurts you and they are punished for it? God’s idea of justice looks more like compassion. Seeing and welcoming. Loving ourselves. Being present with each other. It means we recognize that God gives enough for everyone, and we welcome all to God’s table. Here we can be brave and trust each other, allowing ourselves to give and receive care freely to all.
So, we will end today with a few questions we talked about with the kids:
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