Once again, we are confronted with the utter inadequacies of our economic, social and political systems. Over the past decade, the wealth of the top 1 percent of households has surpassed the combined wealth of the bottom 80 percent. (source: New York Times Op Ed 2020/04/09 The America We Need) How can we ignore that those with access to resources retreat to their homes in the threat of this pandemic, while many ‘essential workers’ (our bus drivers, grocery clerks, and fast food workers) risk their lives daily working low wage jobs without health benefits?
If our own broken hearts aren’t enough for us to raise our voices, our faith traditions provide the moral justification for addressing these discrepancies. Within the Biblical traditions “Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts.” (Deut. 15:1) Furthermore, the seven times seven year is proclaimed as a Jubilee year in Leviticus 25. In the Jubilee year all land was to be redistributed, guaranteeing that both wealth and the source of wealth (land) could not accrue in perpetuity in the hands of the rich. These proclamations were enacted because the God of the Israelite’s was one of economic and social justice, concerned for the well-being of the entire society.
Imagine if we, as people of faith, proclaimed Jubilee! Imagine if we, like the prophets of old, spoke truth to power. If the leaders won’t lead, it is up to us to recreate our economic systems so that all people are treated with dignity, and the beauty and resources of our earth are preserved. As the poet June Jordan wrote: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Is it time for Jubilee?
Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry
Boulder County Interfaith Leaders Caucus