After hearing God’s brief against the people in verses 1-5,
in this passage we hear Micah’s own words. The prophet
seems to repeat a list of questions posed to him. Can I appease
God by some ritual action? What is the proper posture? How
large an offering must I make? The questions become more and
more extreme until the prophet bursts out with his familiar
answer about what God requires.

Making a grand gesture has a certain appeal. In lieu of living
out our commitments on a daily basis, a gesture could assert our
belief that we are in right relationship. An extravagant offering
might be a bid for reconciliation on our own terms. But extravagant
religious observance will not excuse us from changing our
hearts and lives. We are to move beyond attempts to confine our
relationship with God to “religious matters,” with how to come
before the Lord, as if our whole lives were not lived before God.

The prophet’s brief list of God’s requirements for how to
act is one of the most powerfully succinct statements in all
of scripture: “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk
humbly with your God.” Doing justice requires that we speak
up, that we change our own actions, and that we call others into
just ways of relating as well. We know what the Lord requires
of us, but applying this knowledge and loving mercy in the
big and small actions that make up our everyday lives requires
a changed heart and patterns and practices that focus on the
well-being of the whole community. Nothing excuses us from
engaging in the work for racial justice, for gender justice, for fair
treatment of workers, for care of the environment, and for the
many actions required to make our communities more loving
and just.

Sharpen our hearing, O Lord, to your witness. Move us to prayer; move us to action. May we live as your beloved children by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 5:1-12

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Lectionary Week
January 23–29, 2017
Scripture Overview

The four texts for this Sunday join in warning the people of God that they should not be confused or intimidated by appearances or by how the larger society values this or that. A faithful hearing and responsiveness to the God of the Bible may not fare so well or look so good in terms of the world’s standards of judgment. But what is required and blessed is a community ordered according to the covenantal commitments, shaped by God’s gracious promises, and attuned to what Paul called the “foolishness” and “weakness” of God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Micah 6:1-8. When have you sensed God’s anguish over human injustice?
• Read Psalm 15. Where do you need to speak truth from the heart, do what is right, be without blame, or be reconciled?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. How have my limited expecta- tions of how God works caused me to miss God’s action in my life or the lives of others?
• Read Matthew 5:1-12. Which of the Beatitudes do you feel most blessed by? Which best describes your life of faith?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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