It is Time for a Jubilee

Why this historical and biblical practice is needed after COVID-19

Matthew Woodall
8 min readMar 20, 2020


For so many people, this past few days have been a time of reckoning — when the reality of what social distancing and self-isolation mean. As I’m writing this, many jurisdictions are issuing official “stay-at-home” orders, requiring people to do nothing for a defined period of time.

It has been almost 20 years since 9/11,40 since Mount St. Helens, close to 60 since the assassination of JFK, and almost 80 since Pearl Harbor. Every generation has its defining moments, and this is one of them.

We are blessed…or cursed…to live in interesting times.

As the world begins to shut down in response to COVID-19, we are starting to see the enormous economic devastation that can happen because of a major disaster. Everything from our favourite local restaurant to major auto manufacturers are all shutting down.

While governments, employers, landlords, and other people are all doing their best to ensure that people continue to be paid, this won’t be enough. Because of the way our economic system is set up, the antiquated and biased credit system won’t support the needed payment deferrals.

While payments may be suspended, the lack of income means that people will end up months behind and completely unable to recover. Government support has been promised, but will be weeks or months in reaching those who need it the most.

This pandemic is exposing the brutal truth about capitalism: it is designed for those who have the power and wealth.

Money does not determine our value as people, and so debt should not determine our value as people.

It is the wealthy who can afford to have enough supplies to self-isolate for two weeks.

It is the powerful who have white-collar jobs that allow them the luxury of working from home.

It is the wealthy who have six months of savings to get them through times like this.

It is the powerful who can afford to have others do their cooking, cleaning, and who can travel in private luxury.