This week, these were the words that gave me pause:
Please don't let me be put to shame!
Don't let my enemies rejoice over me!
3For that matter,
don't let anyone who hopes in you be put to shame;
instead, let those who are treacherous without excuse be put to shame.
(from Psalm 25)
From the rainbow set in the sky with a promise to never destroy humanity again to the revelation that Jesus is God's beloved son able to resist temptation in the wilderness, to the claim in 1 Peter that baptism is less a washing away of sins than an appeal to God for a conscience....it is about our relationship as humans with a powerful and sometimes intangible God. The psalmist pleads on behalf of anyone who hopes in God. Perfection is not the requirement. Righteousness as understood in second temple Judaism is not the requirement.
A relationship with the living God is what is required. A real effort. An awareness of what God wants, expects...
Micah had it straight then, yes? Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God. Jesus's command is not far from that - love God, love your neighbor.
At this early point in the Lenten journey, I know that my work is the work described by John Wesley as three general rules:
1) Do no harm.
2) do all the good you can.
3) Stay in love with God.
Staying in love is hard work. It is covenant work. It is give and take, struggle, experience, experimentation, regrouping, repenting, returning.
I know you embrace me even when I squirm.
I know you lay your hand on my shoulder even as I walk away.
I know you speak words of love even when I offend.
Bear with me?
And you will.