What a weekend at Genesis, eh?
It’s been a mind-boggling couple of weeks and life doesn’t show any signs of getting *less* crazy. So it filled my heart to hear Steve Wiens’ reassuring words, bringing a very modern context to the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.
I hope his message reached your soul the way it did mine!
I’d also like to shine a light on another Lectionary reading from this week, namely Micah 6:1-8.
A lot of us are wondering what to do, and how to respond to the political and societal ground shifting beneath our feet on a seemingly daily basis.
There are no easy answers, but perhaps this section of Micah - specifically verse 8 - gives us a starting point.
The entirety of the passage entails the Lord calling his people to account. He asks, “What have I done to you” and “In what have I wearied you?” (v.3) completing something of a guilt-trip by going on to list all He’s done for His people: bringing them out of Egypt, ending their bondage, sending them great leaders and preventing them from being cursed by enemies.
But it is Israel's response that interests me in our current context.
Instead of pleading their case, they simply ask a version of the question many of us are currently asking: what shall we do?
In v.6 the poet quotes Israel asking, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?” In v. 7 Israel lists several options of offerings: calves, rams, oil, even their firstborn.
But it it’s in v.8 that God tells them - and reasonably by extension, us - that they’re using entirely the wrong paradigm.
When we ask, “what shall we do” in our current socio-political climate, it seems the focus since the inauguration is on responding to the administration. And while that notion shouldn’t be summarily dismissed, there’s another paradigm that should be considered.
When Israel asks “With what shall I come before the Lord…” the answer comes in verse 8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you by to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”
In other words, the question isn’t what Israel should be bringing to God, but rather how Israel should be bringing God to each other.
So it may be the case that our question shouldn’t be “what protestation shall we bring to the government” but instead “how can we bring God to each other in response to the government’s actions?”
Are we doing justice? Are we, as Walter Brueggemann suggests in the commentary “Texts for Preaching”, helping to bring power to the powerless, correcting systematic inequalities, and refusing to marginalize others for our own enhancement?
Are we loving kindness? Not just in the simplest sense of the word, but in a true covenantal sense. Do we have skin in the game such that when members of our society are oppressed, we feel the weight of that along with them, and make sure they know they are not alone?
Are we walking humbly with God? Knowing that however we choose to respond, we have not the power to do so unaided? That only with God’s wisdom, grace and mercy can we help to facilitate meaningful and lasting peace?
Marches, speeches and social media movements matter. They have weight. They have meaning.
But along with them, Micah 6:8 reminds us that our interpersonal actions matter just as much, if not more.
Grace and peace to you all.
Have a good week!