So, last Sunday, the preacher got around to answering the very important question, the most essential question, "What does God require?"
I grew up in a religious tradition that made an awful lot out of that question.
Most of the answers that were found and "fed" to us had to do with matters related to church stuff--religious jargon, patterns, practices and ritual. Sort of like what may be back of the billboards I've seen around town touting one congregation as "a church you can believe in."
My heritage was like that. We wanted to be in the right church and most of our belief system orbited around matters of church and organized religion and established traditions.
See, we were very concerned to understand what was required so that we could "get it right," especially in the church.
But, on last Sunday, the preacher messed with my mind.
He stirred up all the assumptions of my childhood.
He whacked me bad, I'm telling you!
Oughta be a law against it, I tell you!
So, then on Monday, I have lunch with a buddy who also attends the same church.
He's messed up too!
"Larry, I got stuck on the Bible reading and couldn't get off of it. I locked in and my mind rolled!" he confessed.
He grew up in the same heritage.
"What does the Lord require of you?"
There it was in black and white, right off the page of the pew Bible and into my head and heart.
Oh, man, this is gonna be good!
Here comes the answer, we both thought!
Then, he messed with us. . .I mean, the Bible messed with us. . .well, both of 'em messed with us!
"To do justice!"
To act today to see that fairness, equity and practical, earth-related righteousness wins and is established as "standard operating procedure" wherever I find myself.
It's on me.
"To love mercy."
Hit me again!
To really love, enjoy, even dance in forgiving and overlooking the mess-ups of others, especially the sure-enough-guilty! To get a charge out of extending grace to those who don't deserve anything but punishment and disdain and rotten comments on blog pages!
And finally, "to walk humbly with your God."
In other words, don't go around bragging when you occassionaly satisfy the first two requirements!
Help me, Lord!
My buddy at lunch commented that such was a pretty good rule for life.
In fact, it is the only rule. The one certain requirement.
How have we strayed so far away?