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.
This verse has come up over and over and over again in recent weeks. It was the theme for Youth Encounter Weekend at my church in August. Robyn mentioned it in her intro for this blog. I actually had considered, before I decided not to put a verse in the subtitle, using this verse there. While I was away on vacation I read a staggering variety of things, not all of them remotely religious in nature, yet somehow this verse figured in all of them. I can be a bit thick at times but when God puts something in my path, over and over again, it usually means that He wants me to pay attention to it.
I think those of us here who have been hurt by the institutional church would agree that the failings we have experienced would fall broadly in one of those three areas. By the way, I use the distinctive "institutional church" rather than simply "the church" because I believe with all my heart that there exists a Universal Church, the one spoken of in scripture as "the Bride of Christ" that transcends all denominational lines and quite probably several lines between major religions as well. It is this Universal Church that I am coming to care more about identifying with. I see in the parable of the sheep and the goats that there will be those who have spent their lives believing themselves to be acting on the behalf and in the name of God who will find out that they were not. Interestingly enough in this parable the failures they are specifically called out for are those that would also be failures in light of Micah 6:8. If you don't know the story check out Matthew 23:31-45.
Could it be that it really all boils down to these three? Act Justly (or Do Justice as another version puts it), Love Mercy and Walk Humbly. Jesus said that the two great commandments were to Love the Lord with heart, soul, mind and strength and to love thy neighbor as thyself. Which also looks a lot like what we are told to do in Micah 6:8. Because loving God looks a lot like walking humbly and loving our neighbor looks a lot like doing justice and loving mercy. Seems to me this might be important. What do you think?