And what does the Lord require of you?Micah 6:8
Throughout the scriptures, there are many different lists of things we should bring before our God – everything from turtledoves and lambs to worship and praise. And yet, alongside this worship-centric model of serving God, there is also a crimson thread that runs through the scriptures.
Since the beginning, God has always desired something different from us than what we would expect.
We are humans. We live in a material world and it makes sense, in our heads and in our culture, to bring things to God. The best of our material goods. And yes, God does ask us to willingly share our material wealth in order that God’s work will be done.
We are also taught to give God every bit of our thanks and praise, our prayers and our words of gratitude. For God has given us everything, even our very lives, and we should be grateful.
And yet, as important as those pieces of our devotion are, they pale in comparison to what our God really desires of us.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, we repeatedly hear that ours is the God of orphans and widows, strangers and outcasts. Though the religious establishment may have become so befuddled by their exquisite worship and offerings, God still continuously reminds that this is who our God truly is.
When Jesus arrives, he spends the majority of his ministry on earth not worshipping God in the “holy spaces,” though he does take respite in them regularly. Instead, he intentionally and actively works among the people to bring about equity and mercy in every way he can.
Christ commands that his followers do two things – love God and love their neighbors. Then he uses every encounter, every teaching opportunity, to keep our eyes focused on what that love really means.
This weekend, we will be focusing on a passage from the Hebrew scriptures that Jesus echoed in his teachings. It comes from the prophet Micah:
…and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to live mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
What is God’s justice if not equity and love lived out? What is God’s mercy if not kindness for love’s sake? We do these things not to gain praise from others, but because God has given us everything. Even when we fall short, again and again, God still seeks to make us whole.
We, who would follow Christ, are called to follow in the path of our ancestors, in the footsteps of Jesus himself, and seek to bring God’s purposes everywhere we can. In humility. Spreading mercy. Doing justice.
So, let’s get to work!
Blessings, Pastor Janie