Sermons

Summary: Obedience to God is a hard pill to swallow, but God has a perscription that will make us both whole and holy. Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.

Greg and I have had quite the week. It all started last week. Max was playing with

another dog on the ice and snow and took a terrible tumble. By the end of the day he was

hurting so we started giving him aspirin. But things only seemed to get worse. So on

Monday we took him to the vet. It turns out he came close to rupturing a disk in his back.

So the doctor gave us several pills and instructions that we were to keep Max still for 2-3

weeks. Have you ever tried to get pills down a dogs throat? It is not a pretty sight, we

have to fight 3 times a day to give them to him. We do it because we care for Max’s

welfare, but for him it’s a hard pill to swallow. But you know, there is another problem to

this situation, the pills work well, too well. Max is still injured, but now he is unaware of

the pain, He doesn’t realize the damage he can do to himself. Now we have to fight to

keep Max still. We have to corral him so he doesn’t harm himself more. We won’t let

him play, or chase things, or even walk more than a few 100 yards. We do it because we

care for Max’s welfare, but for him it’s another hard pill to swallow.

That’s the way life is, sometimes isn’t it. We can be in a difficult situation, and we aren’t

even aware of it. We will blithely go our way thinking everything is fine, until someone or

something pulls us up short. In the life of Israel God often had to wrestle with his people

to keep them from hurting themselves. God was not being mean, God did it because he

cared, but for Israel it was a hard pill to swallow. Todays reading in Micah opens with

God saying “I have a contention with my people.” God is wrestling with Israel over their

action and attitudes. They think everything is just fine. They are observing the religious

regulations of the law, even if they aren’t keeping up with all the other standards for being

the nation of God. They see themselves as God’s chosen people, but in God’s eyes they

are hurting, and don’t realize the damage they are doing. So God gives them a

prescription, really the essential elements needed to be the people God desired them to be.

Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God. Three little pills, not much to

swallow, right! but boy it’s hard to get them into Israel’s life, and ours Let’s see how easy

these go down.

First God tells them they must do justice. That doesn’t seem to hard does it. If someone

does something wrong, take them to court and let the judge decide. But of course it’s not

that simple. To do justice the way God means it here is to give to each person what is

their due. It is to figure out what belongs to whom, and give it to them. That’s not so

hard when we are crying for Enron executives to give back the money the workers were

denied, but what about when we are called to do justice here in our community, or in our

church. It’s not always easy to give up our wealth to give others a fair wage, or to give

up our investments to support the church’s desired mission. It’s not always easy to let go

of power so others can lead, or let go of our authority so that others can make decisions

that might affect the future of this church. It’s not always easy to act for the best interest

of all and set your preference aside, to make those decisions that are right but will upset a

few. But sometimes you have to swallow that pill, and its’ hard. Now stop your

squirming!

But God did not just call us to do justice, hard as it is. God also called us to love

kindness. Now that should be easy, right, just be nice and polite. Folks nice has nothing

to do with it. To love kindness is to live in relationship the way husband and wife live

together in a good marriage. There is loyalty and faithfulness, honest concern for the

welfare of another. It’s being patient and tolerant. It is listening so that you see the world

from their eyes. It’s getting inside some else’s skin, walking around in their shoes and

seeing how they fit. The only thing is that if you really do that, it will affect your world

view, you will see things you never saw before. And that can be scary, and hard. We

don’t want to sit down with Osama Bid Laden and listened to his complaints, it might just

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