Today, Sunday 2nd February was the Rev Paul Bartlett’s first Sunday as our part time minister. He preached on Micah 6 1-8 and Matthew 5:1-12.
The Prophet Micah in v 1-2 paints a court room scene:
The Defendants: God’s people, the Israelites.
The Plaintiff: God
The Claims: The Israelites are:
The Witnesses: The Hills and Mountains (God’s Creation)
The Case: In 700BCE, the powerful Assyrian army, who had destroyed 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel only 20 years before, were camped outside Jerusalem. This small last tribe of Israel, in fear of their survival, asked “why is this happening, why us?’.
The witnesses, the mountains and hills, are the high places, where the veil between heaven and earth is thin. They have been here since the beginning of creation, everlasting and enduring. They are not a silent witness to the all that God has done and all that God’s people have seemingly forgotten by their current lifestyle. (the claims)
Paul then pointed out that closer to home, the current drought and bushfires provoke the same soul searching in us. Why is this happening? What can we do in response? Do we need to look afresh at how we live our lives, at how we are called to be good stewards of God’s whole Creation?
The Matthew passage calls for an upending of conventional wisdom and practices of our society, where the ‘rich’ who trust solely in their own confidence and resources for the future are allowed to cut corners, do deals that money and influence can make happen, seemingly immune from accountability, caring only for themselves.
Humble lives of loving kindness that provide justice for all are what God blesses.