Micah 6: 6-8
LUKE 10: 25-37

July 29, 2018 AT THE RIVER

My friends … I would like us to think tonight about the question posed by the prophet just about two thousand seven hundred fifty years ago.  He sensed God’s call to wake the people of Israel and Judah should live but more importantly his message was a revelation of what God is looking for from those created in God’s image.

So, the question … HOW CAN I STAND UP BEFORE GOD?  And, part two directly connected to the question is “and show the proper respect to the High God.”

What God shared with Micah was revolutionary in a way for those people who held tight to the God of Moses and Abraham; the God of David and Solomon.  The God whom Isaiah had received a message about a MESSIAH … the message wasn’t about those mighty Ten Commandments … it wasn’t about animal sacrifices.

The message God provided to Micah were the words Jackie DeShannon put to paper back in the late 1960’s.  Of course Micah wasn’t quite the song writer but the two of them …. Jackie in her song and Micah in his prophecy were telling all of us the same clear message … the message that God has reiterated over and over again.

Be a DIFFERENCE MAKER … Put a little love in your heart!  Think of your fellow man; give him a helping hand … please don’t hesitate.  Do JUSTICE; LOVE KINDNESS and WALK HUMBLY with God.

And, when we do that then the world will be a better place … do you ever consider what it is like to stand before God?  Many have imagined entering the pearly gates with the stories of St. Peter being there to check us in but frankly I think at the moment we enter eternity God does not need someone to intervene … God knows that the instructions for living as people of faith have been clarified repeatedly.

It’s a matter of deciding; will kindness and justice be the essence of who we are?  Are our walked with God the escapes we go on when the world becomes too much?

There is a reason that Jesus when asked what loving one’s neighbor meant chose to share the message of the Good Samaritan.  That message of faith … that message of what it means to live as God expects; to truly love a neighbor; to be a difference maker takes courage.

Sadly, we have come to a time in our history when the talking heads … when elected officials … when the loudest voices are condemning the concept of helping our fellow man or giving them a helping hand.  We only have to examine conversations about programs designed to provide housing, food and basic income for our poorest citizens.  Yesterday hundreds of us gathered to pray and sing showing that WE CARE about the human beings housed in cages … And, what 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.

Put a little love in your heart … think of your fellow man and lend him a helping hand.  I can’t help but consider Matthew 25 as I considered this late 60’s Billboard hit’s lyrics.  Matthew 25 where Jesus pointedly condemned those not thinking of the least among us but celebrating God’s rewards for those who feed and clothe the poor, welcome the stranger, and care for the prisoner.  Those who heard the story of the Good Samaritan very quickly knew who the neighbor was. … which of the three men God would respond positively to … it wasn’t the high priest in all of his fine religious clothing and with an attitude that his authority in religious bureaucracy made him special.  It wasn’t the one claiming to be the extraordinary man of faith, the Levite.

Those who listened knew … the Samaritan, himself an outcast from Jewish society, crossed the road … thought of his fellow man who was half dead and naked … and he put more than just a little love from his heart into his action.

How many of us are ready to be difference makers?  How many of us are willing to be risk takers who actively cross the road to lift up the bruised and battered?  God is calling … God has been calling for thousands of years for those who believe to not be people who blend into their societal expectations.

God used the prophet Micah to put together words that resonate today … words that God issued not to be playful with God’s people.  God was angry; God was frustrated because those who claimed to believe really just claimed the name but didn’t walk the walk.

God my friends has to be so frustrated that amongst the loudest haters in today’s world are individuals who slide into pulpits and churches on Sunday.  God has to be just as angry and wanting to scream through today’s prophets the same simple words …

God’s already made it plain how to live; what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor; be compassionate; love with kindness and frankly take God seriously walk humbly with the Creator.

So, here we are tonight … HOW CAN I STAND BEFORE GOD …. And show proper respect to our High God.

I have to ask … do you have the ultimate source of love?  Jesus Christ?  You need to put Jesus love in your heart; and God has taught us that love is to be shared … We, as Christians, at the direction of Jesus before He left to return to heaven declared that WE WANT THE WORLD to KNOW … put a little love in your heart.

We have allowed hatred to grow but tonight along this river I would like each of you to join me in making a commitment to decide that kindness will be our guide.  That we will walk with love in our hearts.

I want you to have the courage to not only do justice but to stand up for justice in your neighborhood, in this state, in this nation and in the world.  Allow kindness to be your guide … love that kindness … showcase the kindness for ALL of God’s people but especially for the hurting; be ready to cross the road when someone is a victim of injustices … when someone is suffering from poverty … when someone is hurting … do not join the parade rushing by but let the world know that we who believe .. we who have Jesus not only walk with the creator humbly but we have more than just a little love in our hearts for all of God’s people.

We have left the human condition behind to become DIFFERENCE MAKERS for God and for Jesus the Christ.


© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ