2nd June 2022
Britain – or at least the corner where I live – is awash with Union Jack bunting, flags, and pending street parties. Shops promote jubilee wares – foods and drink, books and decorations – and unicorns in coronets and corgis with collars peep round the displays. This jubilee celebrates the Queen’s 70 year reign – longer than any previous British monarch.
But what is it that we are celebrating with our street parties and Union Jacks? Maybe we celebrating that for 70 years there has been one constant in our national life, a constant largely – if not entirely without upsets or disputes. May be we are celebrating our national pride – but of what is it that we’re proud? Maybe we are celebrating a chance to look back with nostalgia to the memories of the good old days, when life seemed simple and innocent. Maybe we are enjoying the challenge of creating our own entertainment with party games and a sing-song and traditional tea-party foods – plus the challenge of dicing with the vagaries of the British weather. Maybe we are wanting to pass on these British traditions to a next generation. Maybe we want for a few hours at least to feel that we do know our neighbours, that we are part of a local community. Maybe we’re enjoying the chance to reclaim our streets, to take them over as a public space where we walk and play, or sit and chat. The chance to stop the traffic, to stop work, to step away from the screens. Maybe its the chance to feel part of a national family. Maybe its a chance to building on the relationships that evolved during the pandemic.
Biblically the jubilee marked a once in a lifetime break at which time debts were cancelled, slaves freed, land restored, and arable land furloughed. It was a time when the mercies of God were made manifest. A time of rest and restoration, a levelling up of resources and of opportunities.
If we were cancelling debts and restoring life and well being to both people and the land (land in its fullest sense of an ecosystem); if we were seeking God’s mercy (by which I mean acknowledging and living a life of holiness and righteousness) then yes I feel we would have a jubilee to celebrate and a nation to be proud of. Can we transform our nation, can we effect this change?
If we did maybe street parties would be our national monicker: a gathering that takes place in a public space where everyone sits as equals, where neighbours look out for each other, eating foods that everyone could afford- sandwiches and scones with jam and cups of tea!