What does the Lord require?

“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?”

– Micah 6:6-8

This last Sunday, we drew star words as our own gift of Epiphany. If you missed getting a star word, I still have a basket available for you to draw one. I drew the word “integrity.”

I am grateful and challenged by this beautiful word. When I was an intern at the Denton Wesley Foundation, the campus minister held integrity as one of her core values. She defined it as being the same person, inside and out, offering our most redeemed selves to the world.

The Scripture above is one of my favorites. In it, the writer wonders what they should bring to honor God. If I translated it for my life now, I might wonder – what do I need to offer to God? My car? My house? My life savings? My firstborn child? (Sorry, James…)

Thinking about handing those things over makes my spirit tremble. But then comes the good news – God doesn’t want or need those things! God wants us to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with God. God doesn’t want our stuff, God wants our lives – not as a sacrificial offering, but as a living, breathing witness to God.

When we work toward justice, trying to ensure that all of God’s beloved have enough and are cared for, we make a worthy offering to God. When we look to how to be kind, perhaps over being right, when we are known for our compassion, we make a worthy offering to God. And when we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but have a humble heart that’s willing to keep growing and learning, repairing relationships when we make mistakes and seeking to God’s will in all things, we make a worthy offering to God.

My integrity is what led me to write a study on how to have grace-filled political conversations. I’ve always been interested in how people organize themselves and why – which is the definition of politics!

When I was a kid, my mother took me to the polls so I could see her vote. I registered to vote as soon as I turned 18, to the surprise and delight of the county clerk. I voted by absentee ballot through college and did my best to stay informed about government and politics at every level. But as a person who is also averse to conflict, I had trouble figuring out how to have good, political conversations.

That’s where this study comes in. If you’d like to be a part of this work in what may be another contentious year, learning how to move as a person of integrity, a follower of God, and an American citizen at the same time, I invite you to join me! Just send me an email or let me know on Sunday morning.

I’m praying for you, beloved. I hope you’re praying for me. This Sunday we’ll start considering half truths with this one – everything happens for a reason. See you in worship!