By Lee Van Ham
Jubilee is overlooked or cast aside by most people identifying as Jew or Christian. But not by Wes Howard-Brook, adjunct faculty at Seattle University, a Jesuit Catholic University in the middle of Seattle. Wes understands that Jubilee is not a matter of a few references scattered throughout the Bible, but part of the worldview of creation religion which, throughout the Bible, resists the worldview of empire religion. In his book, Come Out My People! God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, Wes shows that creation religion is the way of life; empire religion looks powerful but ends in death.
His work has radically changed my way of seeing, not only the Bible, but all that happens in the world today. It’s much clearer which events are creation-based and which result from empire’s ways. To be clear, empire today means the interlinking of superpower governments and military and transnational corporations.
In all the emails I get from him, Wes signs off with, “In the uprising of Jesus.” It speaks strongly to me. I know that I want to be in that uprising too. His book describes how Jesus resisted empire, at every turn, from the day he announced in the synagogue of Nazareth that his life would be about fulfilling the Jubilee (Luke 4:16-21). So, when Wes signs off with “in the uprising of Jesus,” it’s a powerful witness that he continues to stand against empire’s modern versions today, choosing the ways of creation religion and Jubilee.
The Jubilee Circles of Jubilee Economics Ministries are action-reflection labs fostering the uprising. Our witness, also, is that we are in the uprising of Jesus. It’s an energizing uprising open to all and embraces all the species of creation.