On Sunday we celebrated a major milestone in a young person‘s life. Carter Brownlee was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Since the rank of Eagle was first given out in 1912 only 2% of all total Scouts have been awarded it and as Carter’s Church we are so very proud of him. To reach this point a young person needs diligence, humility, and perhaps most importantly perseverance. There are lots of meetings, lots of challenges and obstacles, lots of requirements to meet and show proficiency in. It‘s no joke and we celebrate his accomplishment!
Requirements, scouts check them off each week. Did I do my good turn? Am I living into this Scout oath? Am I truly physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight? Have I kept the Scout Law? While we may not all be Eagle Scouts we are all still given requirements of a different sort within our faith. Micah 6 is a notorious place in scripture that speaks of requirement.
“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 NRSV
I wonder how these requirements fit into our lives? Some old prophet of long ago, words on a page of script describing what God requires. Truly a requirement is only as good as the decision to abide with it or not. Do these words still cause something in you to stir? Does the prophet‘s intention still dwell in you? In a world of shortcuts and simple answers we must often ask ourselves these questions both for our personal faith as well as the collective Church. Because sometimes I/We ( if we are honest) fall sort of such requirements. I‘m reminded of lyric from Josh Garrells song Zion and Babylon,
“I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son
I refuse to give my love to anyone,
Fight for the truth,
Or help the weaker ones
Because I love my Babylon
I am a slave, I was never free
I betrayed you for blood money
Oh I bought the world, all is vanity
Oh my Lord I’m your enemy
Come to me, and find your life
Children sing, Zion’s in sight”
The good thing about God‘s requirement is that there is grace on the other side and that even when we fail to uphold them we are still given more chances to do so. And maybe that’s the whole point of justice, loving kindness and walking humbly,
that the more we do it -> the more we expect it,
the more we appreciate it -> the more we honor it for another, the more of a requirement we make it to be -> the more God gives us the opportunity to extend it.
May this requirement cause reflection, and may we all rest in the assurance that even when we fail to meet it God is still walking alongside us helping us to try again.