Wednesday, July 20, 2016


As you are aware from reading any of my posts, I am a fan of most types of music.  Most of my preferred selections, though, come from the realm of singer-songwriters such as Dan Fogelberg, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver and others.  But one that I thoroughly enjoy, yet do not reference a great deal is Mary Chapin Carpenter.   The music industry doesn't always know what to do with singer-songwriters, and for some reason have classified Ms. Carpenter as a country artist.  I consider her more folk-pop or folk-rock, but that's just me.   Whatever her classification, I do enjoy her music. This song, music and lyrics are the property of Ms. Carpenter and her publishing company.  I use them herein for discussion purposes only.

One of her albums that I loved from the moment I popped in the CD for the first time was the Stones in the Road recording.   On it, there is a song entitled, Jubilee.   From the first time I heard it, I was receiving it as a celebration of bringing a soul back to the fold after being away.  This soul's absence had been of his or her own creation and it's perpetuation of that separation was also self-imposed.  

I can tell by the way you're walking
That you don't want company
Well, I'll let you alone and 
I'll let you walk on
In your own good time you'll be
Back where the sun can find you
Under the wise wishing tree
And with all of them made
We'll lie under the shade
And call it a jubilee...

A jubilee?  What exactly is a jubilee?   It is defined as a celebration that occurs after 50 years, such as the 50th year of a monarch's rule, or an anniversary of a country's founding involving 50 years.   It's origin, though, may well have come from Leviticus 25:8-55.   In this passage, jubilee is discussed as being related to atonement; the redeeming of property, land, livestock, etc., the sale of which may have become necessary in the previous 50 years.   The Bible is replete with references to the number 7; indeed, God created the world in "7 days", and Jesus himself indicated that number of times forgiveness needs to be granted is "70 times 7".  Of course, 7 times 7 is 49.  So for 49 years, business goes on, but in the 49th year, provisions must be made for that year of atonement, of redemption, of "making things right". During the 50th year, the redemption process - the atonement - occurs and so do the celebrations. I encourage you to find your Old Testament, and read this passage.  (Leviticus is the 3rd book of the Holy Bible.)  Jubilee is the celebration of the redemption.

I can tell by the way you're talking
That the past isn't letting you go
Well, it's only so long you can take it all on
Then the wrong's gotta be on its own
When you're ready to leave it behind you
And you look back on all that you see,
It's the wreckage and rust that you left in the dust
On your way to the jubilee!

One of the matters with which I find myself having difficulty is that message of forgiveness.  I don't think I'm a terribly horrible person, but there are times that I still see or remember things I've done or said that I wish I had not.  I have asked God to forgive me, but somehow I haven't been able to forgive myself.  This is a failing on my part, for who am I to NOT forgive when God already has? That's pretty arrogant of me.   I do know that when something I've carried for a long time is finally released, it is most wonderfully freeing!!

I can tell by the way you're listening
That you're still expecting to hear
You're name being called like a summons to all
Who have failed to account for their doubts and their fears
They can't add up to much without you
And so if it were just up to me
I'd take hold of your hand, saying come hear the band
Play your song at the jubilee!

Truly, one of the conundrums in which we find ourselves involves our conflicting senses of wanting to trust in God's answering our prayers, yet not being able to be patient, or deciding that God is not answering when He is either saying "no", "not now" or "I have something better in mind". Maybe He hasn't been able to get our attention away from TV, our "smart phones" or other distractions. We shrink away in horror at the idea of being angry with God, or not trusting him.  We fear His anger.  We fear the consequences of continuing on our way without that confirmation from Him that we are on the right path.  We fear the silence in which we have to listen for His words, because we might not like the answers.

I can tell by the way you're searching
For something you can't even name
That you haven't been able to come to the table
Simply glad that you came
When you feel this way try to imagine
That we're all like frail boats on the sea
Scanning the night for that great guiding light
Announcing the jubilee

Perhaps most frightening for me, anyway, is knowing exactly what it is that is missing.  I know that something is, but what?  Like many, I find myself thinking that if x happens, then I'll be happy; only  when it does, I'm not.  It's easy to back away when I feel like a fool, than it is to simply stop, be quiet and look.  The thing is, none of us have to feel this way!

And I can tell by the way you're standing 
With your eyes filling with tears
That it's habit alone keeps you turning for home
Even though your home is right here
Where the people who love you are gathered
Under the wise wishing tree
Let us all be considered then straight on delivered
Down to the jubilee

Where the people who love you are waiting
And they'll wait just as long as need be.
When we look back and say those were halcyon days
We're talking about jubilee!

The last two refrains remind me of several of Jesus' parables, but in particular, the prodigal son.  The son in the story has been in a sort of self-imposed exile, comes back begging forgiveness, leaving his wreckage behind him, hoping against hope that he will be allowed to be in his father's presence again.  The father redeems him and there is great celebration in the household.   Let's call it a jubilee! 

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with you!