Saturday 7 March 2020

Epiphany 4 Micah 6:6-16, Matthew 5:1-12

Who was Micah?

Micah was a prophet from the 8th century BC-a long time ago. He lived in rural Judah and he had a particular message for the people and for the prophets, who were like the religious leaders of the day. He condemned their corruption, accepting bribes and he condemned the business community who had built Jerusalem on corruption. Does this sound familiar? I wonder what Micah would say to us today about the UK? 

Micah predicted the downfall of Jerusalem, its invasion and subjection to the Babylonians. 
Micah did not see this invasion as a product of Babylonian imperialism. He saw it as a direct result of Jerusalem’s behavior. As a people they had wandered far from God. How far as a country have we wandered from Gods way of doing things? We are doing great evil to ourselves. 

Micah speaks of Justice and Kindness. It sounds so simple. This is what God requires of us, justice and kindness. 

TZDK in Hebrew. It means righteousness, right living. 

That is what God requires of us and our country and indeed the world. To live right. 
So is this what is happening? Are we living just and right lives? 
In the Calais jungle there are children living in the woods because our government will not let them join their parents and relatives in this country. 
In Australia individual politicians are making money by selling the water needed to put out the fires and saying well the rainforest is burnt now so we can sell it for development. A billion animals have died. Is this right living? 
Micah goes on to say that God is not interested in our pious religious ritualsTrump. Its what we do, what we say, how we treat people, right living that God wants. 

HESETH is the Hebrew word for kindness. It is foundational in Hebrew understanding of what brings wellbeing to people, between people, between nations and for the world. It is the basis of repairing the world and is seen as  part of the Tree of Life. 

The Old Testament teaching is predicated, based on TZDK and HESETH. Righteousness and Kindness, Justice and Mercy. 

So its no surprise as we come to Matthew’s description of Jesus teaching that we find the same theme. Justice and Mercy, Righteousness and Kindness. 

For those who are Poor in spirit they will see heaven
Those who Mourn will be comforted
Those who are Gentle, they will inherit the earth
Those who Hunger and thirst for Righteousness will see it happen.
Those who are Merciful will receive mercy back.
Those who are Peacemakers are the children of God
Those who are Persecuted will be in heaven
Those who Insult you, well says Jesus they insulted the prophets and me and you will be rewarded. 

Righteousness and Kindness, Justice and Mercy, TZDK and HESETH. 

For those children and young people we have heard about this week, let down so badly by our corrupt, depraved society, victims of abuse and grooming and 50% cuts to Social services departments, we want justice and mercy. 

In our lives we want justice and mercy because it is healing for our bones and our families and our people. 

If we are Gods people-and we are, this is our bedrock, not piety, not religious  rituals but righteousness and kindness, justice and mercy, TZDK and HESETH. Amen



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