Leap of Faith: our actions count

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Leap of Faith: our actions count

God is not all-powerful or all-knowing

This week was one of the most nerve-wracking of my life. Not because Liberal Judaism and The Movement for Reform Judaism are working together to create one single unified Progressive Jewish movement for the UK… but because I was asked to water my neighbours’ plants.

They have the most beautiful garden, a prize possession. From their window they can see that my trampoline-filled dog park does not match up and yet they trusted me. I was left with explicit instructions but none more so than the ones for the new saplings which lined their entire dining table. Carefully, I had to lift up each pot and place the water into the saucer, NOT into the top, as I would have naturally done.

“Let the plant play a role in its growing,” I was told.

This made me think of our partnership with God. Hebrew is a brilliant language, telling us as much in the words it chooses not to use as in the words it does. Search the scripture from top to bottom and you will not find a word to describe God as all-powerful or all-knowing.

Of course, God is seen as having power and knowledge, but the totality of power and knowledge lies not with God alone, but rather in partnership with creation.

A beautiful commentary on creation from the 3rd century tells us that everything created by God in the first six days of creation needed further improvement: “The mustard seed has to be sweetened. Wheat needs to be refined. Even the human being needs improvement.”

It is a radical idea to think that God’s powers are limited, but turn it on its head and it is incredibly empowering to think that the reason imperfection exists is simply that God could not create a perfect world; rather, we are the ones who get to work on perfecting it. That means we have a purpose – our actions matter.

Thankfully my neighbours have returned and taken back responsibility for their beautiful garden but I do feel I have been given a gift. Not only the knowledge that I managed not to kill their plants, but a timely reminder of how important partnership is for me. I cannot do everything on my own; I am watered by others, but my actions and the part I play really do count.





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