What Does the Lord Require?

. Christians are in a challenging, but potentially grace filled time, no matter how we voted. Let’s look at Jesus , so that we, like the apostles, can respond as whole heartedly to his call to let go of everything and “Come, follow me.” Jesus grew up and did most of his ministry in the Region of Galilee, a crossroads area which Isaiah called the Region of the Nations and Matthew called the region of the Gentiles. In spite of this mixed culture where he grew up, Jesus was a cradle, synagogue going Jew. He totally believed his call was only to God’s chosen, the Jews, whose leadership had become more legalistic and proud, than loving. Yet, from almost the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus heals not only people of foreign religions, but the hated Roman oppressors. Why? It seems to have been just because he is kind. 1st question: ARE WE JESUS KIND? the kind that includes having mercy on those different from us in religion, race, or even, God forbid, politics? Eventually, Jesus, with tears of heartbreak and perhaps feelings of failure, realizes that his own people, the chosen, can not open their hearts and minds to a Messiah whose salvation was not about earthly power, because they do not believe in life after death. 2nd question: DO WE BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH? Enough to respond differently to suffering than those that don’t? Any time a group of us older gals have been swapping horror stories about knees, hips, eyes, ears and bladders gone bad, someone always says, “Well, it’s better than the alternative.” REALLY? It better not be. I’ve put all my chips on Jesus! 3rd question: WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF US? Micah tells us “to do JUSTICE, to love MERCY, and to walk HUMBLY with your God. JUSTICE, MERCY, HUMILITY… that’s not an easy or common combination. Some of us are stronger on fighting for justice for any group of the powerless, while others of us are merciful one on one to everyone. Often we have trouble relating, because we all lack the third requirement, humility. Humility comes from picking up our own personal cross. That is the cross where we die to our self-righteousness: I am right or I am kind/ our false sense of superiority: I am smarter than those I disagree with or I am kinder than those I disagree with/and our delusion of infallibility: what I believe is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But these mind sets are what turn believing we are the people of God into the blinding sin of pride. The power of our cross is that it frees us from these blind spots of pride so we can become peacemakers. 4th question: SO, HOW CAN WE DO ALL THAT THE LORD REQUIRES OF US? How can we sacrifice ourselves fighting for justice for the poor or the persecuted without leaving a trail of wounded people we consider obtuse in our wake? Or How can we be kind and open to others, when we are being ridiculed? First, We all admit that we cannot do it on our own. Let yourself feel the frustration of that. We Americans are “just do it” people. But to become peacemakers, we need grace. And grace comes from walking hand in hand with God humbly accepting our dependence. Do you remember walking holding your parent’s hand when you were tiny, of holding your own young child or grandchild’s hand, of walking hand in hand with your boy or girl friend? Do you remember the sheer sweetness of that, the comfort, the safety, the bond, the closeness you felt, and how you could hear them when they leaned over to whisper, “I love you.” That is what it’s like to become close enough to God to have that same safety from losing our way by walking hand in hand. To walk closely to God takes using every means that will help us live in awareness of God’s loving presence, so we can hear God’s voice over our own.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on January 21, 2017, in B4Peace, Death, faith, fear, fear for the future, grandchildren, Healing, hope, Jesus, Judging, Justice, Love, Paradox, Personality Differences, Political, spiritual growth, Suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. To walk closely to God takes using every means that will help us live in awareness of God’s loving presence, so we can hear God’s voice over our own.

    Amen. Are we kind? I wonder what our neighbours would say?

    • My mind and heart were opened to feminism when I was working at the Catholic Diocese, where we attended Mass each morning.
      There is a part where the priest lifts the large host and says, “This is the Body of Christ given for the salvation of all.
      This is traditionally strictly a province of the priest to do and say. The priest that day had a woman friend of mine stand next to him and do the same thing with a large host just as he did it. The scales fell from my eyes. Because this incredibly kind and spiritual woman friend was one of three people on my list of Jesus people. If anyone had the power to open our eyes to the presence of Jesus, it was she. I ended up leaving the church because I wanted a chance to witness to the presence of Christ to the many Christians who have missed the point of Jesus; God’s unconditional love for ALL and every Christian’s call to share that love both verbally and actively to the point of even risking all to do it. I get to do what I call the sermon from the molehill on one Sunday a month in the Presbyterian Church USA. It’s one of the greatest blessings, because not only do I learn from preparing it, but often when speaking, I actually hear it with heart, mind and spirit. But, I find that I struggle with the all or nothing approach of both feminists and religions on abortion. The same with sending our young to fight undeclared wars that end up destroying the innocent also, when we have something to gain. The same with not at least having the death penalty so we can keep serial murders securely away on death row from innocent people. I struggle with how do we legislate morals on one form of a serious reason for killing with out reevaluating the others from the same view. Somehow, society has to set parameters for killing in any form. But we also have to recognize that in an imperfect world with imperfect people, many of whom do not have a faith that gives grace in the face of suffering or death, there has to be room for both mercy and protecting the innocent.

  2. I have been reading through your posts and I’m beyond the point of inspiration. I pray that I become as good a writer, as articulate in my communications and as insightful as you are. I couldn’t dare pretend to know all there is to know about you but I admire the heart your words have revealed.

    • You are very kind. And like every human being, I have my good days and my not so good. Since I tend to focus on the not so good, your words
      are balm to my spirit. To tell the truth, when much younger, I’d have been like my granddaughter’s teen at school, instead of applying for a job as a speed bump, I was more inclined to knocking someone on their derriere. 🙂

      • 😊I think the best of people in the world aren’t only those elegantly robbed in perfection but also those who can humbly say that WAS once me”.

        To respond to your post. This reminds me of the breathtaking paradox of the cross. How God uses justice to administer mercy. That might be the single most prominent event in history that reeks of all those qualities.

        I must admit that pride has been evident in me when I’ve been so impressed with myself and my opinions rather than perceiving the blessing of a grace that pursued even me. I suppose were we to look to Jesus there’d be no place for our own self righteousness but we’d see the balance. John says of Him, He is full of BOTH grace and truth.

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