What does God require?

“What does the LORD require of you  but to do justice,  and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God?”    Good question.  Exactly what DOES God want from you and me?

That question has been asked by many folk from ancient times,

In this morning’s reading we hear people questioning- “Look God-  We obeyed your laws, Did what you asked- Where's the payoff?

What more do you want from us, God?”   It’s clear from God’s answer back to them  that God does not want a specific type of offering.    God doesn’t simply want  our money, our time, Or our talent Or some bundled bargain of all three.

Important to note- As we here at Gethsemane approach our annual meeting today - We will review our use of these gifts and plan our ministry together for 2017.

The most tangible written form of that ministry Is and should be our 2017 budget.

It reflects the justice and love we humble strive to walk in together.

But,God doesn’t just want us to give certain amounts, Or do certain good deeds.   Nor does God want some kind of master- slave relationship with the creation.   Apparently, God is not interested in birthing a bunch of robots Or Stepford Spouses.

People who say “Yes, Master" And walk around automatically following a list of rules Or doing Gods bidding.   In the Book of Common Prayer And elsewhere around church we call God “The Lord”-a lot.

Kind of quaint- Since looking around today- There aren’t too many Lords- or Ladies for that matter- Except in the movies on the Sci Fi Fantasy channels.

If we follow the word Lord out on this modern day limb We might end up with a God who looks and acts like Darth Vadir-

“Luke, I am Your Father.”

So this word “Lord” needs some help.   But what kind of Lord is this God?   From Micah we learn That THIS God is a Lord who is intensely interested in walking with us through every situation in our lives.

God wants to walk by our side- not lead us by the nose- or force us into a military march at gunpoint.   Justice. Kindness. Humility.  This is Micah’s kind of Lord,   Micah’s point is- That’s who God is- These adjectives should describe us also.

This just, kind and humble God does want a specific type of person.   The answer is rather straightforward: God wants us like god, to do justice. To love kindness. To walk humbly.

Walking with implies a certain kind of equality- Not power over, Bot companioning with.

Both a unity and a bond And also a respect for the persoinality of the other.

Yes, In some small way When we are just and loving We become like God.

But, God is still God. And we are still us.

We retain our unique individuality- What makes us Bob or Gladys or Phil or Susie. But we are in a creative, loving, growing relationship with the Divine.

Walking with God then Involves becoming more like God And really celebrating and remaining ourselves- Just as God does.

Bottom line- God respects us as people- Never seeking to deny who we are are-

But God asks us simply to join with God In doing justice and loving- Just as God does.

As I often re mind myself It’s a relationship- Not a performance.

And it develops and changes over time- As we walk into that justice and love.

That’s why we have annual meetings And annual reports- To see where we’ve been walking- And plan creative how we will wlak together humbly with god In both justice and love.

That’s a pretty good prescription For any healthy relationship- Parent – child Employer- worker Spouse and spouse.

But it all begins here – with The art- Not the science of Walking in justice and love.

In the Buddhist tradition A seeker asks “How does a person seek union with God?”

“The harder you seek,” The teacher says, The more distance you create between God and you.”

“So what does one do about the distance?” Asks the seeker.

“Understand that it isn’t there,” The teacher says.

“Does this mean that god abnd I are one?” The seeker said.

“Not one- not two.”

“Huh?” Says the seeker. “How is that possible?”

“The sun and its light, The ocean and the wave, The singer and the song.

Not one. Not two.”

Loving and Just God- and us. Not one. Not two. Amen.

SermonRev. Phil Boelter