"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?"
We had a wonderful time last week with our sisters and brothers in Christ from the Northwestern and Southern Ohio Synods at the Professional Leaders' Retreat at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio.
This was the second year all three Ohio synods have gotten together and we've enjoyed it so much the probability is that we will make it an annual event instead of an occasional gathering.
For me, the fellowship is important. Spending time with former seminary classmates a
nd catching on what each is doing is rejuvenating. The worship is also a highpoint. To hear nearly 300 voices singing hymns in four-part harmony is exhilarating.
The pastors and deacons who serve congregations are also social beings who love to be around others. However, opportunities to socialize with our colleagues are limited because of our schedules. Your congregation allowing them to attend events like this is a gift and a blessing to them. Thank you for giving them that opportunity.
The verse from the prophet Micah, cited above,may be the best-known passage from the book of Micah. It
is the mission statement of many a faith based agency, including Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry in Cleveland. You will hear it when you worship this coming Sunday, the Forth Sunday after the Epiphany.
Justice, kindness and humility are in short supply in our society. This well-known verse sounds a call to a standard of religious practice where arrogance, corruption and exploitation have no part.
I offer this verse as a postscript to the events of last week. There is a mixed bag of feelings out there about our new President, ranging from anger, to concern, apprehension and anxiety. Others celebrate his election. In fact, it may be the case that you and the person next to you in the pew on Sunday hold these opposing views.
It is helpful to recall the kinds of people Jesus chose for his disciples. First, he called simple fishermen - Simon, Andrew, James and John. He called a tax collector in Matthew. The other Simon was a zealot - a hot-headed radical. In short, all were flawed individuals.
It is too soon to know what sort of President Donald Trump will turn out to be. But as Christians, our circumstances, or who is President, should never be what defines our life.We are God's people; God is our God.
What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
The task at hand for us is sharing that good news of God's salvation with others, of making Christ known in the world.
I will be with the good people of Faith Lutheran Church in Massillon this coming Sunday.
God's blessings to you this week as you do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.
+Bishop Abraham Allende