January 31, 2017

Walk Humbly with Your God

I don’t know all of the particulars about who and how the lessons of the lectionary were chosen, but it seems to me they must have been thinking about Annual Meetings when they chose the ones for Sunday, January 29, this year.

From Micah: “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?”

From Psalm 15: “Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, who speaks the truth from his heart. There is no guile upon his tongue; he does no evil to his friend;”

From 1 Corinthians 1: “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’"

And from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ words: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Why is it that sometimes people can leave joyful, inspired worship to enter the Annual Meeting with their guard up, ready to challenge the honest attempts of their fellow Christians to try to carry out the work of the church? Let’s face it, probably few Vestries have proposed balanced budgets. Clerical errors can result in the omission of the name of a Vestry nominee the first time the list was published. The way the weeks worked around last year’s Vestry meetings, the entire “proper notice” might have been off a few days.

I do believe that responsible leadership, rules and accountability are very important. I just pray that in any meeting, anywhere, from my church to Congress, challenges can be raised without self-righteous and angry tones. But especially in church, where we strive to work together for the unity of the body of Christ.