Weekly Devotion for Monday, January 23, 2023
by Rev. Tsuker Yang
The Call of Micah Continues
"With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 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? (Micah 6:6-8)
I heard this text read or alluded to in couple messages in the past few weeks, primarily related to the Martin Luther King Jr.’s celebration and his dream of the beloved community where very human being is “cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate”, and living together in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. I think this is also the reason we are called to live our faith and life as United Methodists. The word “united” tells us that we are not separated or individual, but together and one for a common purpose… “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” And the world we hope to transform is not any different from the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. for a beloved community.
What is striking in my reading the text this time is the emphasis on the number: “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil.” Today we see and hear disheartening statistics from every area of life that affect people’s well-being. Besides the cause of Covid-19 and natural disasters, people are suffering from wars, gun violence, hunger, poverty, heart disease, injustice, human trafficking, racism, discrimination, air pollution, climate change/weather, and many others. The statistic in any one of these areas is always alarming. Here are some:
- 14.9 million deaths associated with Covid-19 from January 2020 to December 2021.
- 1.9 million new cancer cases in 2021, and 608,750 deaths.
- 3.1 million children are starving every year, and 38 million or more American face hunger every day.
- 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking.
- 773 million people worldwide are illiterate.
- 2.7 million people worldwide surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ every year.
- 47% of U.S. adults in 2020 belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, surveyed by Gallup. This is less than half of the US population.
For these reasons, the message of Micah and the dream for a beloved community continue with us. What is required of us? It may not be the giving of thousands of dollars to charity or ten thousands of hours to services, but to do “justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.” The meaning of this is a call for a change of heart, attitudes and behaviors. Most of us don’t have much to give and may not be able to serve, but how we live our lives is what matter.
It is not how much we give but how much we care for those who are in need and around us, even when we cannot give. Not every person is needed of giving or service, but relationship, understanding, acceptance, respect, kindness, equity, hospitality, and love. Living in these attributes is the essence of the beloved community. To transform the world, first, let us be transformed. As we live out the transformative life, we may become agents of change without knowing it for those who surround us. And, together, we can transform our community, if not the world, to a beloved community.