grace happens... the year of jubilee in action
Last night I participated in our church's annual meeting and then drove to the northern limit of the USA, finding a motel at edge of the border at about 11:30 PM, where I slept, showered, shaved, and from which I disappeared 6 hours after my arrival. I drove north, crossing the border in order to catch a float plane to one of the most beautiful locations for a Bible school on the planet.
Whilst waiting for the float plane and trying to drink myself awake with Tim Horton's coffee, I was perusing a Vancouver newspaper, but the endless stories of hockey, local murders, and Canadian politics were neutralizing my caffeine and I was drifting off, until one story caught my eye:
A Texas woman goes with her son to a foreclosure auction and as the bidding begins, she sits down next to a woman and asks, "bidding on this one? It should go cheap, don't you think?" The woman bursts into tears, as she explains that this is her house, and that coming to the auction was her way of saying good bye. She'd bought the house for 80k and then there had been some sort of family tragedy so that, even working two jobs, this woman couldn't make the payments, and had lost it. The mother stands up and quietly goes over to her son, who is bidding and says something. He stops bidding, and she picks it up where he's left off. In a few minutes this woman, the owner of a small business, and by no means wealthy, has purchased the house for 30 thousand dollars. She then walks back over to the other woman and says, "I'd like to give you your house back." Before the afternoon was over, the purchaser had used her line of credit to buy the house, deeded it back to the original owner, and worked out an arrangement with her whereby she would pay back the 30 thousand the woman had drawn from her line of credit.
On the day of the election, far too many people are convinced that an American culture shift, or political shift will make the difference. I'm the first to agree that shifts are needed - in how we view life in the womb, in how we view our role in the world, in how we care for the poor, and in much more. But more powerful, always, than any cultural shifts, will be the shifts that come into our world when people take up the mantle of Jesus' ministry in Luke 3 and go about the business of setting the captive free, proclaiming deliverance, and living out the year of jubilee in ways that are sometimes emotional, and sometimes (such as in this story) financial.
The funny thing is that I don't even know whether this woman is a Christian. But since I'm a firm believe all people carry within themselves some capacity to display God's image (albeit distorted and limited), I don't need to know. I can learn from her example and ask God how I'm blessing, serving, liberating - she bought a stranger's house and gave it back to her!
If you want your country to be great, don't worry to much about who's in power (more on that tomorrow). Just worry about whether you're living like Jesus, a life poured out in service to all who are in our world, for this path, and no other, is the path to greatness.