|I spent a few days recently returning to the delights of South East Devon ...
As we approach the General Election in a few weeks’ time, we are being inundated with soundbites and promises from the various political parties. Can you match the following vision statements with the three major parties in this election? - ‘Change Britain’s Future,’ ‘Strong, stable leadership,’ ‘For the many not the few.’
At Holy Trinity this year we have a phrase that we aspire to - it is ‘Live for Jesus.’ I believe that this is what God is calling us to. But what does it mean? There are so many answers, but for a moment I want to focus on one from Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Here we have a summary of how God wants us to live. To walk humbly with God is to be close to him and to be attentive to what he wants and loves. And God wants us to ‘act justly and to love mercy.’ These could seem to be two different things, but when we look at the original Hebrew words for ‘justly’ and ‘mercy’ we see that they are not; the word for ‘justly’ puts the emphasis on the action, and the word for ‘mercy’ puts the emphasis on the motive behind the action. To walk humbly with God means we act justly out of merciful love to everyone.
Also, in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for ‘justly’ repeatedly describes taking up the cause and care of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor. God is concerned about them. This is clear in Psalm 146:7,9:
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry … The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow.
This is not just a message from the Old Testament. Jesus identified himself with the poor. Born in a stable, introduced to the agony of refugees as a child, raised in the economic backwater of Galilee, Jesus, the wandering teacher had no house of his own. The poor flocked to him. He fed and healed the needy.
In his first statement in the Synagogue after emerging from the desert, Jesus not only identifies himself as the Messiah, but that the good news he has to share is for the poor. Luke 4:18,19 says
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.
So, to ‘Live for Jesus’ means to walk humbly with God and to take up the cause and care of the most vulnerable in society. It’s an important challenge which, if our hearts are set on giving our all to the One who gave everything for us, will affect how we use our time our money and our vote.
Trevor Patterson (19 May 2017)
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