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Greetings to members of the Jewish community on the festival of Rosh Hashanah

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed warm greetings to members of the Jewish community on the festival of Rosh Hashanah.

05 September 2018

On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I am very glad to send warm greetings and good wishes to members of the Jewish community on the festival of Rosh Hashanah and the forthcoming High Holy Days.

The prominence of the theme of creation at Rosh Hashanah is paralleled in a widespread designation of this part of the Christian liturgical year as the ‘Creation Season’. This is a welcome reminder to Jews and Christians alike of the abundant generosity of God and of the goodness and purposeful reality of the world that God has entrusted to us. We share the conviction that, within God’s wider creation, we human beings have the special dignity of bearing the divine image. We also, therefore, bear the awesome responsibility of wise and just stewardship of the earth and its rich resources, for the blessing and flourishing of all humankind, and indeed of all creatures.

But of course the realistic and sobering story told by the scriptures is of repeated human failure to live out this vocation, with consequences that are painful for ourselves, and often disastrous and disfiguring for the wider creation. So the Jewish emphasis at this season on self-examination and penitence is salutary for us all.

As we turn again to the mercy of God and rededicate ourselves to the tasks of healing the world, we naturally think of the continuing challenge of seeking peace and justice for all in the Holy Land. In this regard we are deeply grateful to all the friends and colleagues – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – with whom we at the World Council of Churches have the privilege of working together towards this goal. At times the way forward may seem daunting, and we may be tempted to lose heart, but as we discern the image of God in one another we are reminded that our faltering efforts are undergirded by God’s constant and unfailing commitment to all that he has made.

Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:17)

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
World Council of Churches general secretary