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Matt’s Musing

January 27, 2023

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends and Family,

“And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  (Micah 6:8b)

What does God want from me is a question that many of us sit with from time to time in our life.  It’s an ancient question that is part of the people’s response to God’s critique of them in Old Testament book of Micah.  A common answer to this question, at least from the standpoint of religion, is that God wants acts of worship and devotion.    Bring on the burnt offerings, the generous offerings of time, talent, and treasure, and don’t forget to have perfect attendance!  Micah lets us in on a secret about God.  None of those acts of worship is what God really wants.  What God really wants out of us is justice, loving kindness, and humility.  God asks for us to align our lives with God’s vision for a healed and whole community.   

Lost in translation is the transformative nature of God’s charge for us.  In the original Hebrew of Micah, doing justice is so much more than righting wrongs, it is a performative part of our daily existence:  being fair and equitable to everyone.  Similarly, loving kindness isn’t just about being nice, rather it is more clearly realized in treating others with compassion and loyalty based on the mutual love we share as God’s children.  Humility toward God isn’t just about being deferential to a higher power, but is best understood as being careful and thoughtful in how one walks with God.  I really find this translation of humility to be the most thought provoking of the three because it assumes that I’m aware that I’m walking with God, which isn’t always the case, and reaffirms that God is with me no matter what.  This awareness makes me more thoughtful in how I should be open to God each moment of my life.

In short, the sixth chapter of Micah reminds us that devotion to God is not measured so much in performing the right religious acts, but in shaping our life to align with God’s saving work.  The pressing question is not, “What does God want?” but rather, “How am I helping to bring healing, wholeness, and abundant life to Creation and all of God’s children?”  God’s desire is for us to care for one another, especially, the poor, the vulnerable, and those discarded by society.  Such caring will not only lead to right worship, but right living as Christ’s followers.  May the Holy Spirit guide us as we manage our resources and our lives to help restore the heavens and the earth and all who dwell in them to the “goodness” to which they were created by God.

Blessings on your journey!

Pastor Matt 

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Worship Connection for January 29th

January 27, 2023

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Sermons from St. Paul’s

February 21, 2020

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“An Ethic of Love”
February 16, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“The Third Way”
February 9, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
“When Things Break Down”
February 2, 2020
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“Following Jesus”
January 19, 2020
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
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