Life 103

Monday, July 10, 2006

a small world

Our church tries to stick together on the scripture reading each week and this week’s verses included one of my favorites. Micah 6:8 - Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly (responsively, intentionally) with God. These three threads, when braided together, have served as a dipstick for my faith walk off and on for a long time. When in doubt, when it’s time to re-focus, when I wonder what I’m doing here, I like to look at my life through the lens of Micah 6:8.

Yesterday Gregg prompted us to consider ways we have picked the braid apart. Having been in the good company of Quakers from across a historical divide this weekend, being a person who interacts with people of different faiths on a daily basis, and as a Protestant in the employ of the Sisters of Providence…during open worship I was thinking about the many streams of faith that will some day “converge.” Feeling sad and confused by the divisions, the disagreements, the wounds we have inflicted on each other by our arrogance and gracelessness, I felt this phrase rise to the surface: “The edges are too sharp and the world we've cut out for ourselves is too small.”

I see our version of who is in, and who is out, as too cut and dried. It’s harsh to the point of callousness. It’s too piteously small. It lacks imagination. It is so homogeneous and self-serving that it’s just plain boring.

Yesterday morning in the quiet I asked God, Am I being arrogant and graceless too?

Yes…and no… Not usually some cases, maybe. In one case, very likely.

Lord, teach me to do justice, help me lavish mercy on others wherever I go. I wait, longing for love and grace to flush pettiness from my spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
have mercy on me.


  • What a pleasure to be with you the day that your church read Micah 6:8 together. I too was inspired by the way Gregg challenged us to keep the braid together. I will post about this soon, but the point about walking humbly with God was especially important to me.

    I wanted to come and feel the Spirit move among you in worship and I did. We certainly felt the lovingkindness of Friends in Newberg, especially you.

    May God continue to have mercy for us all. Or perhaps I should pray that we learn to recognize how much mercy God has for us all.

    By Blogger Robin M., at 8:56 AM, July 11, 2006  

  • Robin, I'm glad you felt the Spirit moving too. I'm looking forward to seeing what you write.

    By Blogger kathy, at 6:46 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • I was caught by this phrase: "The edges are too sharp."

    I've long thought that only a Friends meeting (and perhaps any religious community) that is strong at the center can afford to be fuzzy at the edges. We are at our best when we don't let our edges get too sharp.

    I personally have more difficulty holding the tension of "doing justice" and "loving mercy" simultaneously. These virtues often seem mutually contradictory in my day-to-day life.

    By Blogger Paul L, at 9:23 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • Paul, I really like the idea of a group with a strong center being able to afford to be fuzzy around the edges. Those sharp edges are where people get hurt and I have noticed that's where Jesus tended to hang out the most. I Love this sentence: "We are at our best when we don't let our edges get too sharp."

    If you discover how to hold the tension of justice and mercy perfectly, do tell! I suspect it has something to do with seeing that of God (and some of ourselves?) in the other.

    By Blogger kathy, at 10:26 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • Kathy, thank you again for your hospitality in Newberg. Your Friendly presence and ability to bring people together were a blessing. As were your lemon bars! :)

    In response to Paul and Kathy about holding the tension: Well, as Gregg said in his message, it's like a three-legged stool. Walking humbly with the Lord our God is key. Through our accompaniment of God, and seeing that of God in one another, may we find ways to twine together justice and mercy. After all: "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (Matt. 19:26)

    And yes, indeed: My frequent prayer is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Maybe my mind will catch up to my heart in this prayer, someday.

    By Blogger Chris M., at 10:45 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • I love seeing the Spirit weave these ideas together in us, with us, through us. You are amazing people. Thanks for your comments and your friendship.

    By Blogger kathy, at 6:55 AM, July 14, 2006  

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