Sunday is the Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany. One way, Merriman Webster defines “an epiphany,” is “an illuminating discovery, a realization, or disclosure.” One illuminating discovery I made in studying the assigned lectionary texts for this Sunday was the realization that each, Micah 6 and Matthew 5, disclosed a list.
In my years as Pastor of Covenant, I’ve often met new people who have “experienced the unconditional love of God without the guilt of religion” at Covenant. Only to have them inquire as to what’s on the list of rules, the “dos” and “don’ts”, for our church. One common response is they don’t believe it when I tell them there is no such list; that at Covenant it’s about relationship with God and not rules of religion. It seems that people like to know how close they can get to the fire without getting burned. (Metaphorically of course!)
Surprisingly, another common reaction over the years to there being no list of rules and regulations has been disappointment. It seems that folks like the comfort of what they can and can’t do that such list offers.
Well, the assigned texts this Sunday offer 2 lists, from the Divine; not humans. The first list found in Micah 6:8 is a list of what God requires of us. It says, “God has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
The other in Matthew 5, is a list in which Jesus gives that we have come to know as “The Beatitudes.” This list speaks of the rewards and the promise of God’s help of endurance as we fulfill what God requires of us.
Join us for worship this Sunday, when my sermon is “The List: Act Justly, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly” based on Micah 6:1, 3, 6-8 and Matthew 5:1-12 (The Beatitudes)