Oil of Gladness, a mixed media on canvas by Jon White.
I hate blank canvases. Give me a ruined canvas with an unfinished painting over a plain white one every day of the week. Where do you begin with a plain white canvas? At least with a painting gone wrong or left unfinished there is some form, shape and colour to work with. Through patience, technique, layering and creative inspiration a new painting can emerge, one that has redeemed the old work.
I believe the concept of Jubilee is built on a similar understanding. God does not simply discard the old but renews it from the inside out. He sees us like ruined, broken, forgotten canvases and, instead of dismissing us and starting afresh, he works within the greyness of our brokenness and our mourning and brings out colour, gladness and a story of redemption.
Jubilee is, therefore, an incarnational process, and although the concept of Jubilee begins in Leviticus 25, we find its fulfilment in the coming of Jesus. God’s Ultimate Jubilee is on a cosmic, universal level where the oil of gladness permeates all pain and loss until all is made new. Until then, let us participate in this redemptive process in community and shared humanity, allowing the oil of gladness to drip into the darkest of places by learning to listen well, love deeply and forgive quickly.