Two days ago, we looked at how God requires something of us; we have to at least try. Yesterday, we saw that Jesus said that the stuff we usually try at isn't really the important stuff; what's really important is how we love one another. Actually, the Bible couldn't be any clearer about what God requires of us. It plainly says, "This is what the Lord requires of you." (Micah 6:8)
To do what is just.
To love mercy.
To walk humbly with your God.
On the surface, it seems like over the past three days, we've gone from these very concrete ideas about church-y things that we should do (and do better) to some more fluid, relational types of people-y things that we should do (and do better) to now, we're talking about some seemingly-abstract, philosophy-y things that we can never quite know if we're really doing or not.
Can we please just go back to Wednesday?
Life seemed so simple then. All we had to do was start to pray, try to sing, and open the pages of the Bible every now and then. That seemed easy enough. It was abundantly clear what was expected of us when all that mattered was that we try to do something faith-y.
The relational stuff on Thursday was a little more challenging, but let's be honest - we all just started thinking of the persons in our lives that it's easy to love. We know exactly who has some concrete, specific needs that we can totally "one another" pretty easily. We know who we hang out with, and we were thinking about doing a better job, you know, of hanging out with them. Or more hanging out with them. Or something. We maybe even thought about changing our semi-assigned church seating to sit by some new persons...or at least closer to the persons we usually sit by. You know, down the row a little ways. Nothing too crazy. But yeah, we were figuring out there was probably a way to "one another" better without totally blowing our comfort zones.
But justice? Mercy? Humility? That's where we draw the line.
It's where we draw the line because it conjures up a certain image in our heads, particularly in these days, where "justice" means we're out there protesting something, marching with signs, making public spectacles of ourselves for whatever the cause of the day happens to be. "Mercy" means we just give a free pass to everyone and end up as doormats. And "humility" means all we can ever say is that we don't know. We get so afraid of saying anything because we might be wrong. Or arrogant. Or arrogantly wrong. Or something.
We don't want to be protesters or doormats or wrong. We want to live quiet lives confident in simple grace. Is that too much to ask?
Not at all. What's surprising, though, is that that's kind of what God wants for you, too.
These quiet lives confident in simple grace that we so crave are lives that are completely consistent with everything we've been looking at. They're completely consistent with a faith that tries to engage in the spiritual disciples. They're completely consistent with lives that "one another" well. They're completely consistent with justice, mercy, and humility. We just have to change how we think about some of these things.
There are some key words there besides "just," "mercy," and "humbly." These are the keys to wrapping this all together, to figuring out what it really is that God requires of us. These are the action words, the verbs: "do," "love," and "walk."
Next week, we'll look at some of these ideas a little more closely. There are some things here I think we're missing...and they make all the difference.