Tikkun olam: תיקון עולם
"No one showed me what I ought to do,” wrote St Francis. Towards the end of his life of devotion and insight he said, “I have done what is mine to do; may Christ teach you what is yours!”
What permission, freedom, and space Francis gave; so much to take advantage of; so little time to ponder and lament; so little time to act. Sometimes, it feels as if the world is calling on us to do way too much. What’s ours to do? There’s an old adage that says something along the lines of: you can do anything you put your mind to—but it doesn’t mean that we should.
Discernment is the ability to obtain and sometimes make sharp perceptions; to judge well; the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.This astuteness can be psychological or moral, even spiritual in nature. The New Testament (NT) Greek defines discernment as Diakrisis. The meaning describes being able to distinguish, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment. The Scriptures also describe the ability to distinguish between spirits. The Biblical text records, He [God] gives someone …the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. The NT also reminds us that the mature in the faith, because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
What's ours to do? Our world is suffering. I have colleagues who are working in Greece, they care for refugees who are fleeing war-torn countries. I have other friends who have seen the inhumanity of mass refugees, including hapless children, escaping the failed governments of Central and South America. People go hungry in our country where there’s more than enough food to feed everyone. I sit with homeless people who endure the extremes of cold and heat. Tune into the news and take note of the human actions accelerating the unprecedented increasing frequent wild fires in Cali — environmental devastation. Shootings, bombings, human trafficking, animals being brutalized, for sport. The list goes on and on. Can we make a difference?
Tikkun Olam is primarily a Jewish concept, but it’s a concept that Christians should be familiar with. It’s the idea that though the world is broken, it is not beyond repair. I think, it’s God’s intention to work through humanity in order to help repair his creation. In Ecclesiastes 7:13 the writer said, “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Me and you. Because we are ‘Believers’ we’re not
Strong in faith, resilient in action. I wonder how many Christians recognize that God is repairing the world, all the time — and He is using us. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ... In other words, until, or in lieu of, the full realization of God's kingdom, we must strive to emulate on earth how business is conducted in heaven. Join with me, and other believers, as we participate with God to redeem humanity and strive to renovate human society, in and because of the Christ. Amen.