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Epiphany 4A 1st Reading

Micah 6:1-8

Micah is a prophet that does not mince words. A contemporary of Jeremiah, he foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the way of life of the people of Israel resulting from their negligence and sin against God. “In his eyes the fatal sin is the sin of moral corruption. The rich men are full of violence and the inhabitants speak lies.”[1] We read this selection in our own contemporary situation and find much relevance, possibly even parallel, to our own anxieties. Yet, Micah not only speaks to social, political, and economic dynamics as many would relegate the prophets. In this passage of Micah’s sixth chapter, the prophet addresses the worship of the people of God. It is in these verses that Micah gives a plea for the people of God to return to worship in truth:

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?”

As a people that would be exiled and lose the power of dominant political voice in their polis, Micah reminds the people of their primary relationship: their relationship with the one they worship. Humility is hard to come by in situations in which we feel we are being mistreated or recipients of injustice. Yet, it is in this very situation that Micah reminds the people of God what is required of them. There is no promise of redemption, simply a reminder of covenant. They who are treated unjustly are to perform justice. They who are ostracized are to be lovers of kindness. They who are seized and exiled into foreign lands are to be ambassadors in humility. Might we have the faith and fortitude to do and be the same in these days.

[1] Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Prophets. Harper, New York: 1955.

Jonathan Burkey

Worship Pastor, Lima Community Church of the Nazarene

Jonathan Burkey

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