These are simple words with large implications. Why? Justice, mercy, and humility are all admirable things; we desire to see and inhabit these qualities in ourselves and in our communities. The challenge of fulfilling the mandate in Micah 6:8 is that it is impossible to do these things in isolation or as pure “self-work”. Justice, mercy, and humility all require that we be actively engaged with others. In this current time of unease and restrictions it is easy to dismiss the other and worry about the immediacy of ourselves.
To act justly takes work and effort. Notice who is at the table? Who is missing? Who is speaking over top of others, or speaking but being ignored? What is my role as an Image Bearer, Community Builder, or Justice Seeker in this particular area? These are difficult questions to grapple with, and without the input others, we are simply wrestling with ourselves and not oriented towards justice. Where are we seeking justice today?
Loving mercy, especially in the light of acting justly, could mean that you may have to lay down a right. Your right to feel wronged, your right to anger, or your right to feel comfortable. What would it look like for you seek a right relationship with whomever you interact with today? Mercy and grace go hand in hand. Too often we get caught up in our own story, the one that is right in front of our faces each day and we forget that each person we encounter has their own story too, right in front of them. Yet those disparate stories are a part of one communal story and without mercy they simply butt heads instead of melding into something that honours the other. Who needs your love of mercy today?
Justice, mercy, and humility all require that we be actively engaged with others.
There is a painting on the side of an old English barn that pops up on my Instagram feed every now and then. It reads “Praise the lowered/Honour the lifted.” It is not meant to be profound but if this was our way of being in the world, walking humbly would no longer be out of the ordinary behaviour. Are there spaces in your life where you can lower yourself to seek humility for the betterment of the other? Praise be to those of us that accomplish it. Are we seeking out those who go quietly and do solid work for honour? In a world that has a hard time ignoring the brash and the outspoken, how are we participating in the celebration and praise of humility? The fact is, for those in our community where humbleness is a gift, celebration and praise will be uncomfortable, just as it will be to those of us who recognize that we have much to learn from others. How often do we seek to be last, so that others can be first?
Micah 6:8 ends with the phrase “with your God.” How assuring it is to know that our God is with us; that he is not away on holiday, or taking a nap, or busy doing something else, too distracted to hear us! How difficult it is to realize we must lay down more of ourselves so that he may be lifted up! Today, you will be with others in some way, shape or form. I pray that as our God is with you and you with God, that you will seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the other, just as, by the grace of God, they do for you.
Assistant Principal, Fleetwood Campus