The prophet Micah confronts us with this question, “What does The Lord require of us?” His response has been etched in my heart all week, “Seek justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with our God.”
What a week! As I wrote last Monday, who could have predicted the national tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing and ensuing manhunt that would bind our hearts, lock the doors of a community, and capture the imaginations of a nation? Who could have imagined the towering fire-ball that would engulf a fertilizer plant in Texas and wreak havoc on a community?
What a week.
Within our community at Peace, we received news that Janie Tinklenberg, after fifteen years of faithful ministry, would be moving on to a new call in Orlando, Florida. Though we can and should rejoice with her in this new venture, parting elicits sadness, change invites uncertainty.
In all of this, the question of Micah provided a lens through which I could see all the national chaos and local change of this week.
What does The Lord require?
Seek Justice: For pre-meditated acts of evil, we call on justice to be done. But, there is another level of Christian maturity that balances our drive toward combative anger and vengeance. Jesus also calls us to “Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” I didn’t hear much of that this week. That doesn’t minimize the horror of the perpetrated event but it does mitigate against the crippling effects of perpetual animosity. Our hearts shrink under the constant pressure and weight of hatred. So we seek justice and we pray for enemies.
Love Kindness: The calamity in Texas reminds us of the precarious demands of progress and profit. For the sake of greater gain, we, at times, put ourselves at risk by the pressure we put on business, the incentive to produce, and the procedures that we overlook. In this case, there was great cost, ultimate cost to families and a community. In response, the images of people flooding to the site, to homes, to the nursing facility to assist were compelling, just as those who rushed to the bombing sites at risk to their own lives. Even in calamity, kindness has power.
Walk Humbly with our God: As we say goodbye to Janie Tinklenberg over these weeks, one of the ways of God that she embodies for me is this humble walk. We joke, at times, about her Dutch, Reformed piety that doesn’t allow her to brag or even receive compliments well. But, it’s more than that. Janie views herself as a servant of God. We are better for it.
What a week. As I’ve tried to navigate the dark and uncertain twistings of the events of this week, I’ve become more conscious of this one fact: No matter what comes, we are still God’s people.
God will be present. God yet calls us to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
It’s Monday. A new week! Thank God. But, we also have the same call to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. Thank God. Peace. Kai