Monday, July 19, 2010

May men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after

Isn’t precisely happiness what we all want, without exception? ( St Augustine )

(Mi 6:1-4, 6-8)
Hear what the LORD says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel .

O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt , from the place of slavery I released you;
and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

We might break the passage from the prophet Micah down into three parts: God questions His people, asking what good He might have done for them that He hasn't done, and then the people answers with the question "How can we respond to the Lord appropriately?" In a third movement God answers with the simple "you have been told what the Lord requires of you, only to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God."

Two things strike me about this. I think that most of us would answer God's question with quite a list of the areas where we think that God has not loved us enough: the loss of a loved one, our current health, not getting a job --- all sorts of things. While there is certainly some reason to feel that way, it should not be an incitement for us to doubt God as much as it is for us to consider what true love is and whether we are mistaking the idea of a pain-free life for what we think that an all-powerful God "owes" us.

The other aspect of this passage that stands out to me is that Micah turns away from the sacrifices suggested in the second part, the general sort of thing prescribed by the Law, to a relationship with God which is spiritual and very personal, which demands the sacrifice of self ("walk humbly with God"). This is in itself a very solid solution to this problem of how God loves us....

No comments:

Post a Comment