Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Selah

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8

The dichotomies of faith.  I ponder these paradoxes from time to time.  A divine being who came in the flesh.  An omnipotent God who offers us free will.  A chosen people who exercise choice.  A Master outside of time who still governs our days.  The paradoxes of faith.

And what is good, what is required of us?  'To act justly and to love mercy...'  To somehow value and exercise justice in this unjust world and at the same time be merciful.  And this is what the Lord requires.

How?  How to act with equity, with objectivity, to be willing to call right right and wrong wrong...and to be known as a people of tenderness and tolerance, an extension of the mercy extended to us.

We've all been there, the extreme list to one side or the other.  The times we pounded the table, lost our love walk but proved we were right.  We've all been there, the times we loved mercy more, then experienced an abuse of that mercy, watched as someone took our compassion and used it as permission to dig their hole deeper.

But there's that third part to the above Scripture, that tag line that I skim over, but then return to afresh, ponder a bit more deeply...'to walk humbly with your God.'...'to walk humbly'....  And therein lies the balance, the point from which all weight must hang.

'Humbly' in the Hebrew means what you think it would, tsana, meaning humbly or lowly.  It's the 'to walk' where that glimmer of something deeper gently pulses. Halakh, to walk without any suggestion of a definite destination.  Again, to walk without any suggestion of a definite destination.  To walk without agenda, without pretense.  To walk without regard to winning the argument.  To walk without dogma.  To be willing to navigate the situations that need our attention, our response, but to do it without first determining what we want the outcome to be.  To be willing to walk humbly, listening in every situation to where the Lord may guide.

And therein lies that mysterious balance of acting in justice and in loving mercy.  It's got to be a God-directed thing.  It's got to be God-directed to wade into a situation that begs correction.  It's got to be a God-directed thing to let someone off the hook.  To walk humbly without predetermined destination.  And doesn't that just define 'a walk of faith'?

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