The translation of Micah 6 in The Message is,
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
Be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously – Take God seriously.”
This pronouncement from an Old Testament prophet resonates in how we live today. In our Sunday lives and our weekday lives, we are called to fairness, justice, compassion and loyalty. That sounds about right for Christians, doesn’t it? Then, what about the next line which deals with taking God more seriously and ourselves less seriously?
Lent is a special time to examine how this is working out in our lives. We find extra hours for prayer and study, and we try to do something outside ourselves.
I was recently reminded of my commitment many years ago as a Hotline volunteer in Alexandria, VA. I don’t remember a time when my “compassion thermometer” was any more elevated than it was then. We were well-trained to handle the distressing calls that came in from people who needed to talk while an anonymous phone voice listened to their most intimate and searing problems and questions. There were very few innocuous calls to listen to. Many came from those who were ready to take their own life, but were ambivalent enough to talk with someone before actually doing it. These were the most difficult. Trainers insisted “It’s not your fault if you fail at this. The client is responsible for his/her own life. You just do your best!” But, oh, the pressure when those calls came! It took all the compassion and composure we could muster.
There are many opportunities in our church to reach out to others. There are those in the community around us in life or death situations. Sometimes they only need one positive word of encouragement.
Where can you fit in and find a place to serve? Think about it during this Lenten Season. Let’s take God seriously as we are called to do what is fair, just and compassionate.
Metropolitan Memorial UMC