How did you cope with the Jubilee Weekend? Were the four days of holiday and celebration too much? Or did you soak it all up glad of the spectacle and colour of the various events? One friend was so exhausted from the weeks leading up to the holiday that he slept for most of the weekend. Although it was quite chilly for a June weekend, at least in Bawtry it was dry on the Saturday.
I was reminded recently that the concept of Jubilee came from the Bible. God’s instruction for Jubilee – in the fiftieth year – was after a pattern of seven cycles of seven years. It was an early instance of God’s “levelling up” agenda when land and property were to be returned to their original owners.
The state has recognised for many years the problems caused by inequality both between and within our regions. This Government gave a higher public priority to correcting this by even renaming the department for local government as the “Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities”. Electoral considerations were undoubtedly a factor. But even Labour politicians have accepted the need for “levelling up” – the arguments are on how to do it effectively and fairly.
Independent observers see reducing the huge gulf in wealth and income between different parts of the UK as a worthy goal. Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England, suggests the need for a threefold partnership – between market, state, AND local communities. Without connection
and trust locally, it will be very difficult to tackle inequalities and imbalance in society.
It is hard to identify a historical record of the Biblical Jubilee instructions having been fully
implemented. But, following Pentecost (when God sent his Holy Spirit), the New Testament records the emergence of effective levelling-up communities: “And all the believers … shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (Acts 2) and
then later “The apostles testified … to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, … There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” (Acts 4)
That was a radical agenda which made a real difference. Are we prepared to explore how we can play our part in levelling up within our community?