On the way: From Kairos to Jubilee

This final issue of NewsNotes for the Sabbath Year begins with the concluding section of On the Way: From Kairos to Jubilee, a U.S. document written in the tradition of the South African and other Kairos documents by a racially, ethnically and geographically diverse group based on reflections from local communities across the country. Written over 10 years ago, the challenge and vision it presents remain appropriate today.

The challenge we face

We who walk this journey of discernment, in this time and place, recognize that as Christians in the United States, as nations, as a nation, as communities of faith, as families and individuals, we are called by the Spirit to conversion, to life renewed.

Our greatest challenge is simply to act humanly in the midst of violence and death, to exercise sanity and conscience, to practice resurrection.

In this moment of kairos we are called and led by the Spirit of God to join the thriving new theological convergence which crosses traditional church barriers, to change the landscape and the soulscape of our communities.

We are led by the Spirit to form alliances across difference, embracing diverse gifts and the gifts of diversity – to ally ourselves with people of other faiths and with those who claim no faith at all – to build a multiracial, multicultural movement for justice and peace.

We are led by the Spirit to a new relationship with the earth and all its creatures based on a deep sense of kinship –to reject the obsessive patterns of consumption which drive the disintegration of creation.

We are led by the Spirit to shape a culture of radical nonviolence – a living alternative to the reality of our times, consciously countering racism, sexism, heterosexism, domestic violence, street violence, state violence, militarism.

We are led by the Spirit to rebuild the fabric of our families and our communities; to affirm and foster covenantal relationships with sexual integrity; and to further a culture of personal responsibility and social reconstruction.

We are led by the Spirit to birth now forms of community; reflective and analytical, contextual and prophetic, contemplative and active, diverse and creative.

We are led by the Spirit to create new visions and possibilities through art, music, poetry, story telling, a renewal of language itself – nurturing both memory and imagination as spiritual disciplines.

We are led by the Spirit to relinquish and renounce economic privilege that allows us as persons and families, as communities and churches, to ignore the social mortgage on property, both real and financial – to join the continuing struggles for Native land rights, for family farms, and for accessible, ecologically sound common land in urban areas.

We are led by the Spirit to free economic imagination to promote alternative economic practice and economic relationships in our institutions and communities that ensure the needs of all not the desires of a few, that value equally the work of each one; that honor the dignity of all and promote the rights of every one to a fully human existence.

We are led by the Spirit to restructure radically the global economy to benefit the excluded poor and to protect the rest of creation – to lift the burden of debt from the backs of the world’s poor.

We seek nothing less that the conversion of our cultural soul of our values as a people, of our priorities as a nation. For that reason we pray first for the conversion of our own stony hearts. It is time in this place for humility, sensitivity, generosity. It is time for us to give flesh to the discipleship communities which may seed the deepest transformation of our families and our neighborhoods, of the institutional church, and the dominant society.

We take the spirit of Jubilee to be a preeminent sign of this kairos time.

We are frightened by the signs of crisis …encouraged by the signs of hope …compelled by the urgency of both.

Thus, we commit ourselves to the works of repentance – to reparation, redress, re-valuing.

We commit ourselves to enact the Jubilee concretely in our communities, our institutions, our lives.

We commit ourselves to a continuing quest – an ongoing journey – a form of faith in itself, a sign of freedom, a mark of serious discipleship. The contours of Jubilee are yet to be defined, but the invitation is clear and the need is great. In the spirit of community, mindful of truth ever exceeding our knowledge, let us covenant to live in a manner explicitly informed by the Gospel we proclaim. Amen. (For a photocopy of the entire document On the Way: From Kairos to Jubilee, contact the Maryknoll Global Concerns Washington, D.C. office.)