The years of Babylonian Exile radically altered Israel and realigned their orientation to their God in profound ways. This shift in orientation after the Exile redefined the importance of the land, fostered a renewed reverence for Jerusalem and the Temple, and reinforced their commitment to pass on their faith to coming generations.
This realignment reminded the people of the fragile blessing of posterity—too many of their children had been lost in the war and the deportation—but gave them opportunity to cultivate faith within the next generations in order to ensure the nation’s future . . .
Our Jewish siblings have long been committed to tikkun olam—”repair of the world.” Tikkun olam is a value of Judaism that calls for God’s faithful people to be intentional about performing caring acts that can help mend the frayed fabric of our shared life: acts of personal charity, acts of social advocacy for the homeless, hurting, and hungry, as well as actions that protect and preserve our environment.
The prophetic call throughout history is to do justice for the widow, for the orphan, for the poor, for the exploited, for the neglected, for the stranger, for the vulnerable. This is the call of the word of the Lord. These are biblical values.
How has the Christian church not heard and lived into that calling for far too often? We have become so bent in on ourselves that we forget the whole reason for our existence is to love our God and to love our neighbor.
This call to justice and mercy, the challenge of tikkun olam, is rooted in the Hebrew prophets: Micah and Joel, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. This call resounds again in the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ.
Because of the generosity and self-giving of Jesus the Christ, because of the faithfulness of the God who is Life itself, death is becoming undone. Because of the gospel, the brokenness of humanity is becoming whole, the lost are being found, the pain is being healed, the sin is being forgiven, and the world is being repaired.
But the work must be recreated and renewed in every generation . . .
Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle, Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace (Resource Publications).
Living in The Story readings for Week 47
(Don’t be overwhelmed with this list. Reading one of the Minor Prophets each day is very doable.)