We all claim to love the verse from Micah 6: 8….
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
This is a calling from God, to a people who have turned their back on God’s mission. God is saying to them:
“sacrifices are not going to cut it.”
“Tithing is not going to save you from my anger.”
“I called you out to be my people, whom I love and through whom it is my intention to love, gather in and bless the world.”
I have been thinking a lot about the calling to the church. Becky in the reflection on today’s Lenten Project meditation on this Micah passage, writes: These three things are what we need to do to live God honoring lives.
Walk humbly with God.
But do we? We as individuals and we as the congregations of the called, do we?
Are we more in love with our status as leaders, elders or deacons—than with the calling to serve God?
Are we making gods out of our favorite pew, the stained glass windows, or the silk flowers that must always sit on the piano—rather than humbly walking with our God?
Today I read this passage from The Message. This is how it spoke the truth of this word from God:
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
Do we take God seriously?
Do we love him and honor him?
Do we fear him and obey him?
Do we think about how he asks us to treat others?
Do we answer the call to go out into the streets and meet with the sinners—those hurting people whose behavior is so baffling and even frightening to us?
This morning before I began today’s meditation in the Lenten Project I was reading the blog from the Chief of the Least. I am learning to never be amazed when God keeps bringing the same themes into my life.
I am beginning to understand how this is the work of the Holy Spirit speaking to me in soft whispers and slap up-side-the-head reminders. It is as if the Spirit is saying, “what God asks is important stuff—Listen!”
You can read the whole of what Bryan was saying, by checking out this link:
This is what Bryan wrote that caught my attention:
But it’s hard to reach people with your back turned to them.
It’s easier to cry “anathema” from a proud hill than enter uncomfortably into the valley that’s cursed. Only armed with the counter intuitive swords of intercessory prayer, sacrificial love, and words of peace.
The world’s default is darkness. And we have the only illumination that will quell it.
God never called us to safety. He called us to salt and light living, but not safety. Even in a sanitized bubble existence, germs and cancer can reach us there. Old age will reach us there. The question then is not how or when we die, but what we die for.
As we journey through Lent we are reminded that Jesus came to die for us. As he walked humbly with God and as he took God seriously he cared for the outcast, he brought justice, peace, and mercy into fractured lives… and then he died for all of us who so desperately need that justice, that peace, that mercy. Can we do any less?
Sadly we can—and we do.
I like Becky. I do. I admire her deep commitment to the church. I appreciate the way she speaks what the Spirit is saying. I marvel at the ways in which the prophetic gifts flow through her…..
She asks some darn tough questions. I have noticed it these past few days and I rather suspect that as we journey through Lent, those questions will just get tougher. Those questions make me look at myself and question my calling—not that I am called, but if I am living it out in the way God has asked.
In regard to the calling to
& Walk Humbly with God
Do we do that?
Are we noticing injustice?
Do we love and practice kindness to those we meet?
Do we humbly come before God daily asking for guidance and to offer thanksgiving?
Those questions have pushed me to thinking about my own commitment to serving the world—the world, not just the congregation where I am the minister.
Every time I moved I involved myself in projects in the community, projects that were MY ministry, not the congregations. That has been important to me.
In the past I have served with Victim Services, where I learned more about Spousal and Family Abuse than I ever wanted to know.
In the past I have served with the Help Line, where I was the voice of warmth and welcome and non-judgmental listening. I learned so much about the loneliness of people, about the desperation they feel and the hopelessness.
While here, I served with the Legion, and was able to share what I knew about the pain of war vets, and in some of the conversations over a beer in the club-house learn more about how those struggles have affected daily life.
But, I stopped being the Legion Chaplain as my life got complicated…. family sorrows, financial worries, health problems were very consuming for me and something had to give.
But now… as I wonder where God is calling me next, in terms of serving the church, I am also wondering what he is asking of me in my service to the community. What is currently tugging on my heart is to work with a ministry to the homeless or to the Food Bank…. I keep thinking that I’ll figure it out where I next go to live…. But darn that Becky, her questions are making me wonder if I should start NOW. Even if God plucks me up and moves me to Timbuctoo or Tuktuyuktuk (yes that is a real place) that agency will have had help even for a little while.
Yes indeed, Becky asks hard questions. Isn’t that the nature of a prophet? And isn’t that also what friends do for friends?
So I continue to ponder and pray and meditate on her final question:
How can you live your life in such a way that it models Micah’s statement and shine God’s light into the world?
May the question disturb you as much as it disturbs me.
To find more about Becky’s Lenten Project please check out this link: