According to the Directions

IMG_8318for Sunday, February 2, 2014
4th Sunday after Epiphany
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A
Souper Bowl Sunday!
lectionary focus: Micah 6:1-8
note 1: On some church calendars this Sunday is Presentation of the Lord; we’ve opted for 4th after Epiphany in order to use the Micah verses.
extension: Some say verse 8 is one of the most important verses in the Bible. To help kids remember it/learn it/write it on their heart, you can either have kids make something with the Micah verse during Sunday School or you can give them something already made.
note 2: The verb ‘accord’ is ultimately from Latin ad (to) + cor (heart), to be of one heart.
note 3: Oops! When I posted, I didn’t remember that this is Super/Souper Bowl Sunday! I think it would be easy to incorporate this by adjusting the opening paragraph to discuss football…different rules for high school vs college vs professional vs European vs neighborhood…and closing with the way to put Micah’s steps into action is to support the Souper Bowl of Caring! Whew! 

I love to play games. I particularly enjoy Hide and Seek. But one thing I have noticed all my life about playing games is that lots of people have different rules for playing the same games. I would play Hide and Seek one way with my friends in the neighborhood and a different way with my cousins from Ohio. Most of us figure this out and we know to set the rules before we start playing. It sure saves a lot of trouble if everybody agrees exactly how high you have to count and what is out of bounds and which part of the table is base and how you have to touch it and what you have to say…you get the idea.

When it comes to being a Child of God, it seems the rules are easy, right? Jesus told us to love God with all our heart and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But even with only two rules, people could end up arguing about how exactly we are to do this. How are we to love God? How are we to love our neighbor? Fortunately, our Bible story today gives us instructions to make it clear. The Prophet Micah tells us that God directs us 1) to do justice; 2) to love kindness; and 3) to walk humbly with God. No matter where we live or who we are with or what we are doing, these three steps tell us how to act and what to say and set the boundaries. First, we are to do justice…not just think what is right, but we are to act right, we are to do right. Second, we are to love kindness…not just think kindness is a good thing, but we are to love it so much that we take care to be kind. And finally, we are to walk humbly with God…this one covers everything else. Walking humbly with God means we are to check with Him in each situation…because we don’t always know the answers. These three steps tell us how to do what God calls us to do. These three steps allow us all to agree on how to do our lives for God.

We have a saying in our culture, “When all else fails, read the instructions.” Often times in a game, we have to check back to see what the directions say. Often times in life, we have to check back to see what God says. This verse from Micah is a good one to write in our hearts…so that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whomever we are with, we can check to see that we are loving God and loving our neighbor according to God’s instructions. To do what is right, to be kind, and to walk humbly with God, we can check to see that we are doing our lives in heart with God.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for rules and directions.
Help me
to do justice
to love kindness
and to walk humbly with You
that I may live my life
according to Your heart.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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