Dear Hyde Park Family,
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 6:8
Our journey through the Old Testament concludes with one of the best-known passages in the Bible. It is also one of most often quoted in American history. Many of our country’s founders used it during our struggle to free ourselves from the tyranny of British rule. It was brought center stage again in the mid-1800s, as we fought each other over the abolition of slavery. It was quoted repeatedly by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others during the civil rights era. Warren G. Harding opted to have George Washington’s Bible opened to this passage when he laid his hand on it to take the Presidential oath of office. Jimmy Carter is the most recent President to do the same.
But despite all of the press coverage this single verse has received throughout our history, we still need to be reminded of this: Micah 6:8 is not a multiple-choice question.
- Do justice.
- Love kindness.
- Walk humbly.
- Do all three.
It would surely be easier if it were. It would be much simpler if we could just pursue justice alone. But if we do justice without kindness and humility, then we might act virtuously on the outside, but our motivations may be rotten to the core.
It would be a lot easier if we just choose kindness. You know, just be nice. But if that’s all we were, then we would never be able to make lasting change. We would not build God’s kingdom in way that ensures that every person has a place at God’s table.
And it might even be easier if we just focused on being humble. There would be a lot less conflict in the world, a lot less tension. But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Peace is not just the absence of tension. It’s the presence of justice.”
Micah 6:8 is not a multiple-choice passage. And every one of us has to work harder on at least one of these three to bring them all into balance with each other.
THIS SUNDAY: GARY MASON
To guide us in this passage, I’m excited for us to hear from my friend the Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, who will be offering the sermon this Sunday. Gary is one of the most inspiring and most devoted agents for peace with justice that I know. He was central in forging the Good Friday Peace Accord, which brought an end to the Thirty Years War in Northern Ireland. He uses the principles of that accord as the founder and director of Rethinking Conflict, which promotes reconciliation and peacemaking in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and the United States.
He has preached here at Hyde Park in the past, and we are delighted to welcome him back to make connections for us between Micah 6:8 and the significant issues we face in our country today.
Join us this Sunday as we bring to a close our time through the Old Testament, and look forward to Jesus just around the corner!
Grace and Peace,