Posted by George Morrison

Platinum Jubilee                Word on the Week                       4th June 2022.

It is almost a contradiction in terms.   Platinum represents 70 years whereas Jubilee in Scripture is 50 years.      However, over the years the word Jubilee has been added to other significant dates such as 60 years married is a Diamond Jubilee.

When Moses was given the celebration it was to be held every 50th year.   It was preceded by seven sabbath years.   These consisted of six normal years trading followed by a seventh year where the fields lay fallow and rested (Leviticus Chapter 25 verses 3 to 7).   When a total of 49 years is reached in the 49th year the ground is left fallow as usual.   What is grown by the land on its own can be taken to feed your family and livestock.

Then the trumpets sound throughout the land and proclaim the year of Jubilee.   This would usher in a time of restoration when each one returns to the family property. The over-riding understanding is that the Lord owns the land and we are tenants or stewards.   If this was understood and accepted today wars would cease overnight!

During the Jubilee year debts are cancelled and again no harvesting takes place. Only sowing for the following year is permitted.   Provision is made for those who become poor.  Lending without charging any interest is extended to him.   No one was to sell themselves into slavery.  Instead they were to be treated as hired workers until the next year of Jubilee when they could go free.  

There were plenty of trumpets blown in London this week to announce the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.   This set in motion four days of celebration of what is the longest reign of any British monarch.    There have been street parties in many towns and cities where the common factor was the lighting of a beacon to mark the event.

In the Bible, a book which the Queen frequently quoted from, Moses was concerned to ensure the poor were looked after (Leviticus chapter 15 verses 35 & 39).  

Here is an anecdote from a Jewish Magazine recalling the Queen’s visit to holocaust survivors back in 2005.

‘It was the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and the Queen was meeting a group of Holocaust survivors. When the time came for her to leave, she stayed. And stayed. One of her attendants said he had never known her to linger so long after her scheduled departure time. She gave each survivor – it was a large group – her focussed, unhurried attention. She stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story. It was an act of kindness that almost had me, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in tears… It brought a kind of blessed closure into deeply lacerated lives.’

So often royalty seem like pieces on a chess board – to be moved around to suit their handler’s requirements at that particular time.   It is good to recognise the Queen’s ability to weigh up a situation, as she did in her visit to Ireland in 2011 and make the appropriate response when the opportunities arose.

The British national anthem has the line ‘long to reign over us’ which has been fulfilled.  Let us pray that the request expressed in the opening line will come to pass.