Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 23:01:56 -0500
Subject: Jubilee year

Year of the Jubilee

December 1999
 

Dear Friends,

 As we are about to celebrate the feast of the Incarnation, I am writing

to invite all members of Hong Kong's community, particularly Christians,
to sanctify the new millennium by proclaiming the year 2000 as the
Jubilee of God and to commit ourselves to the promotion of God's
liberation for all people.

 At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed his vision of God's
Jubilee.

   "The spirit of the Lord is upon me.
    Because he has anointed me
         to bring good news to the poor.
  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
       and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to let the oppressed go free,
   to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
         -[the year of Jubilee freedom.]”  (Luke 4:18-19)

 The concept of Jubilee is drawn from the Book of Leviticus in which a
year of Jubilee is celebrated every 50 years. It is a specific time in
the life of the people in which God expected justice to be restored to
all those who had experienced injustice. It is a time in which God would
set right what has gone wrong throughout the previous years. It is the
year that the slaves were to be set free, the debts of the poor were to
be forgiven, and the land was to be returned to its original owners
(Leviticus 25). In the Jubilee year, we are reminded once again that God
is a God of justice and that God does not forget the poor and the
oppressed.

 The invitation for all Christians and people of other faiths as well as
others who share this vision and commitment to join this Jubilee
movement is a challenge and a call to a spiritual awakening. It
challenges us to examine how our individual and corporate lifestyles
have broken our relationship with God, with each other, with God's
Creation, and even with ourselves. It challenges us to make a direct and
dynamic link between our talk of faith with our walk of faith ad to
engage ourselves in a ministry of joint discipleship with the poor and
oppressed people in our communities. It urges us to return to the
original wholeness of God's Creation. The wholeness of God is like the
image of God that has to be reflected individually and collectively by
God's whole Creation. We as individuals cannot become whole without at
the same time helping others to become whole.

 My vision of Hong Kong's Jubilee begins with our communal yearning for
mutuality, justice, and healing. It is the expression of complaints,
grief, and resistance over all forms of oppression existing in our
colonial history as well as in the present, such as neo-colonialism,
nationalism, sexism, heterosexism, dualism, racism, hierarchicalism,
classism, consumerism, individualism, and anthropocentrism. God’'s
Jubilee discards the individualistic notion of personal salvation
because there cannot be liberation if the community does not survive.
Our fate is all bound together as one totality of life.

 At the advent of Jubilee, churches in Hong Kong are called to stand in
solidarity as members of the international ecumenical community with
those on the margins of society, particularly those who are increasingly
left behind by the globalizing economic order - Asian domestic workers,
new immigrants from China, single parents, unemployed workers, the
elderly, the disabled, and the homeless, for instance. To liberate the
people, the Church must confront and transform the unjust economic
systems of our society and seek instead alternative models of
development which empower the marginalized, that sustain life and
community as a whole. In this regard, the churches in Hong Kong should
join and support the Jubilee 2000 international campaign to forgive the
foreign debt of the world's poorest countries as a concrete way to
express the coming of the year of Jubilee.

 Jubilee, however, is not confined to only economic issues. There is a
social dimension as well. Consequently, we have to be humble and admit
that the Church in Hong Kong often becomes a part of the oppressive
system which structurally and theologically excludes and marginalizes
women as well as sexual minorities from being equal disciples. To change
this, the Church must liberate itself from the prison of
self-righteousness and transform the sacrament of the Eucharist into a
table of hospitality and solidarity, that is, a sacred table that
welcomes total strangers into our midst and shares God's hospitality
according to their needs. This message was clearly illustrated by Jesus
in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Body of Christ is made
possible only when we are able to transcend the boundaries of our own
selves to become something larger, something that is part of God,
something which remains as mystery.

 To achieve the above goals, we must strive for full democracy and equal
political participation for Hong Kong's people as soon as possible and
make our Church the true reflection of Jesus’ ministry, that is, a
discipleship of equals that rejects the patriarchal and hierarchical
power structures of our society and the institutional Church.

 Jubilee though should not be seen as a transitory event that comes only
once every 50 years. Instead, it has to be envisioned as a steadfast
prayer of Christians through which we try to work constantly and
persistently for its implementation in our daily lives and practices.
 In closing, I offer this as a prayer of faith, hope, and love in which
Immanuel is with us as we weave our dreams toward the realization of
Jubilee in Hong Kong as well as in other parts of the world. To make
this dream grow, I ask that you share this message with other friends as
a way in which we can contribute to building a world that affirms life
and community.
 

With Peace and Love,
 

Rose Wu

P.S. For further information, please see the web sites for the following

groups:

(1) Jubilee 2000/USA
     www.j2000usa.org

(2) The Religious Working Group on the IMF and World Bank
www.religiouswg,org