Taking God Seriously | Micah 6.6-8
How can I stand up before God
and show proper respect to the high God?
Should I bring an armload of offerings
topped off with yearling calves?
Would God be impressed with thousands of rams,
with buckets and barrels of olive oil?
Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child,
my precious baby, to cancel my sin?
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.
Micah 6:6-8 | MSG
“Each human being is at the same time both riddled with divine sparks and in desperate need of repair…Every human action therefore plays a role in the final restitution. Whatever we do is related to this ultimate task: to return all things to their original place in God. Everything thing a person does affects this process.”
~ Lawrence Kushner, Eyes Remade for Wonder
The first stop of any tikkun olam (world repair) that can take place is the repair that has to happen in our own hearts, souls, and minds. Which brings us back full circle to that upper room with those disciples huddled together in all of their shared insecurities trying to plan a way forward. Jesus, who is in the business of “restoring all things as spoken by all the prophets,” begins first with repairing and restoring us. A “wall” is a metaphor with at least two sides. On one side is the negative image of isolation, hostility, and inaccessibility. Jesus delights in tearing down such walls. It is his nature. And so will his nature be in us. On the other hand, a “wall” symbolizes healthy boundaries, identity, and security. And this kind of wall Jesus aggressively builds in each of us. It is the work of his “Peace be to you,” of his breathing upon us that we might receive the Holy Spirit. We cannot give what we do not in fact possess. If we have no peace, we cannot be instruments of his peace; but being at peace with God (and with ourselves!) that peace will flow unvexed, unobstructed into the sea of humanity. Tikkun olam will be unleashed. God through the prophet Micah (with a nice amplification by Eugene Peterson in his Message) defines the healthy boundaries and nature of a heart and soul at peace: not taking yourself too seriously, but taking God very seriously aka “walking humbly with your God.” Yes, we are “riddled with divine sparks” and yet “in desperate need of repair.” But from such a settled core of walking humbly with God, life-giving, peace-making streams will flow, even through the cracks of our insecurities and fears – streams flowing into pools of doing what is just and fair for others in this world, and into eddies of compassionate, swirling, loyal love. As we are restored and repaired, so is the world in ways we can’t even begin to calculate or imagine. And it all begins, in the midst of our breathless culture, with his Divine Breath upon us, bringing us peace…
…making us instruments of his peace.
How would you quantify your current “peace quotient”? To what degree are you experiencing peace with God – and with yourself? How is it showing?
One more time this week, begin your response to his call by praying the prayer of St. Francis. Write it down, take it with you. Let your spirit soak in it…
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
For all of this week’s small group resources including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.