Jubilee is a theological theme found in the bible and linked with justice. i will take on three biblical texts which are essential to understand jubilee - Leviticus 25, especially v v 8-19, which is the core teaching and summary of the jubilee tradition; Isaiah 61:1-3 where the jubilee tradition becomes part of the messianic promise; Luke 4:16-2 where Jesus says, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing", and proclaims a Jubilee - "a year of the Lord's favour".
A time of complete rest.
I sit here and ask myself what this means to me as a woman, and to all women folk experiencing various existential realities around the globe??.
The story of Leah, a dear girl told told me this experience of complete rest, with the support of people interested in women issues, and willing to do anything to promote the welfare of women. in an interview with her, Leah told me that her mother never disclosed to her who her real father was. she grew up with a mother alone, and because of the difficult circumstances, she was never privileged to attend and complete elementary education. she dropped out in class 3, was taken by some people to work as a house help at a tender age or 11. Leah shares that her troubled work-with no pay and abuse by the employer left her with pregnancy at the age of 16. the father of her child refused to take her in because he was a married man. A married man came over pretending he will help her, only to take her in as a second wife. this man mistreated her and told her that since she had no father, and no home to go to, he could do anything. Leah told me that she was one day thrown out of the home, with two children and since she was from a single mum, she did not know how she could go back to her mum and also become a single mum. she continued to stay with this man, the father of her second child for some years. this man could not provide basic needs, came home drunk, and abused her. Leah recalls that one day, the land lord chased her away with a few belongings, and her three little children. they stayed in the cold for the night. on hearing this, the husband who was in the first wives house refused to pay rent for her, and failed to provide food. she continued to struggle alone and what the husband did was to come back after Leah had paid the rent to make her pregnant, and leave her again for nine months. Leah heard news about her father and looked for ways to reach him. as a helper, i shared with the father who was very positive and agreed to the proposal of purchasing a piece of plot, and constructing her a small house. i also helped Leah to consider family planning options to enable her take care of the four little children she had. unfortunately, the husband was an absentee father and husband. he went to live with his brother in the capital leaving the burden to Leah-educating kids, paying for medication, feeding them and providing guidance for the children. 2012 April 30th, marked the beginning of a journey that Leah will always remember for the rest of her life. it was very painful for to get the news that her husband who had traveled to the capital, had been taken ill shortly and had died due to stomach complications and hemorrhage.this is because the burden of caring for the kids lay squarely on her. she was devastated because she was unemployed and just a housewife. she thought of taking her life and that of the children. when i heard about this, i was in touch with the family, and her father and after sharing for sometime, her stepmother (her fathers wife) agreed to take her in with her four children. in that home, she could find security, food, clothing, education for her children and time to heal.During the burial of her husband, i attended the funeral and the plans the family of her late husband had were to have a brother in-law to inherit her. she would have a husband bad co-wife who would be in charge of her and the kids.Immediately after burial, the father called to inform me that his wife had graciously agreed to take in the daughter and 4 little kids -ages 10, 7,4.& 2. Leah's step mother said she was willing to give leah the second chance to grow as child and to attend adult literacy classes, to organize for the education of her step grandchildren, and provide food and shelter and clothing to the step daughter and the kids.on hearing this.....Leah said it was a miracle, and she did not know how to express the joy. The stepmother and Leah's father picked Leah and her children the day after the burial of Leah's husband. Leah will soon be attending adult literacy classes while her children have all been taken to an academy by her step mother. when I asked her how she felt, she could only say that 2012 was a year of rest for her: she was resting from ; emotional, social, psychological, economical, and human and sexual exploitation by the men who gave her the four children. she is happy to say that she is flying high on her stepmother's wing and is experiencing total rest. she says she cant now worry about food, rent, medication, clothing, shelter, and loving family because with her step mother and father, she has them all, much more than she ever imagined.She thanks God for her step mother and father for providing all these. she is convinced that she will do well in her classes and one day, stand in solidarity with girls who face similar experiences in the communities, and also support them to get support to experience rest from injustices like she does.
I hope all women in with various abilities will be motivated to take in or support young girls who are or have suffered injustices to enable them to experience rest.