Some musings on Tikkun Olam

I’ve been so busy with work recently that I haven’t had the time to think about adding more regular posts to this blog…since the 8th September, I’ve been thrown headlong into my work, and I am not complaining, as I love what I do! I am so privileged to get to work day in, day out, in the area where I am passionate – music. Whether that’s working for and singing with Epiphoni, singing with Thomas Tallis Society, going back to working backstage at Wigmore Hall, being at St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace and all the Sunday singing I do as an independent pro singer in London choirs, I truly adore the work that I do, and wouldn’t have it any other way. But even that can be a danger because busy-ness can become an idol, taking my eyes off the reality of the times in which we live and urgency of the real reason I am here – if I let it!

My real purpose is to bring the presence of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, into each and every one of those areas in which I work, and to manifest His love and compassion and truth and light and hope to each person I come into contact with. So whether you’re a friend from one of my choirs, someone I work with (or for!), or whoever you are, reading this right now, I want to be able to give you even just a hint, a clue, a taster as it were, of what it’s like to know Him. Apparently, in 12th century German Jewish tradition, when young boys started to learn Torah, the Rabbis made sure that studying and learning the words of scripture was associated with honey and sweetness to show the child that God is good and His word is sweet and nourishing. Having spent time getting to know God and His word and tasting His goodness in my life, I can think of no better illustration, and I long to be able to share that sweetness and joy with everyone in my life.

Which leads me on to the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. The Jewish people know it is their purpose to restore and repair the world alongside God – a world spoiled by sin and evil – and in Jewish culture that gives ultimate worth and meaning to a life; leaving the world and one’s friends and family and contacts better for having known you and interacted with you. Whilst this isn’t a directly biblical idea (it comes from Kabbalistic roots, but is now much more mainstream as part of Jewish thought and culture), it draws on the themes of the biblical covenant between God and His bride, Israel, found first in the books of Moses and reiterated throughout the Bible. This is the meaning behind the oft-repeated phrase “I will be your God and you shall be my people” – the people of Israel agreed to this covenant and accepted the ketubah, or marriage contract of the Law given at Sinai, on the date which later became the feast of Shavuot. Contained in that contract were all of God’s promises as the husband to bless and protect them if they stayed faithful to Him, as well as the warnings of the judgement that would result if they were adulterous and went after other gods and adopted the primitive and often perverse practices of the pagan nations around them. But even in judgement God promised eventual restoration and forgiveness, and within these passages you can see the concept behind Tikkun Olam. The Jewish people are meant to be the people who show the watching world what it’s like to be in covenant relationship with God, and to bring the restoration of justice to society, and the redemption of anyone from those nations who wanted to become part of that covenant people – think Rahab and Ruth for example. The Jewish people are part of God’s process of redeeming the world back to Himself, ultimately fulfilled in Messiah Jesus, and anyone who believes on Him is adopted into that covenant people, the Bride of Messiah, to join with this amazing work.

Although, for the most part, the Jewish people reject Jesus as Messiah, their energy to bring physical healing and Tikkun Olam to the world is an inspiration to see, and the world is exponentially a better place for the existence and thriving of Jewish communities in practically every culture of the world. Many of the Jewish people I know personally are creative, arty, musical, expressive, and articulate individuals, whose intelligence and passion for social justice and equality is wonderful to see and partner with. Jewish people are also still partially fulfilling that spiritual Tikkun Olam by faithfully keeping the feasts of the Lord, His appointed times, which are all rehearsals for His amazing plans and purposes thought history. They have continually lit a candle against encroaching darkness – as is rehearsed weekly on Shabbat – and held out light, hope, life in the face of horror, persecution and death, and an unshakable trust in the promises of future restoration, and for that I am forever grateful to them – without their faithful commitment to their community, their traditions, and their Torah, my faith would be so much poorer. I am humbled and privileged to learn from them and to partner with them to bring physical Tikkun Olam to the world around me, treating people with kindness and bringing positivity, energy, creativity, integrity and justice wherever I can, to whomever God brings into my life. I also sincerely hope that by holding out the light and sweetness of the person of Messiah Yeshua whom I love with all my heart, that not only Gentiles, but also the Jewish people I know and love will come to see how He is woven into the fabric of their feasts and festivals, fits perfectly into their Scriptures as the ‘Prophet like unto Moses’, how He is Himself the ultimate fulfilment of Tikkun Olam and so, so much more, and that through having known me, they too will be able to rejoice in the joy of knowing Him as their Jewish Messiah one day soon.


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