Readings: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Hosea 6:1-6; I Thessalonians 1:2-10
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
The knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
Righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
And righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
God, Self, Neighbor. Everything in faith is about the relationship of these three. What I do is never done in a vacuum. If I give money to worthy causes only for the recognition it brings me, I’ve missed the point: knowing God’s heart, the holiness of my neighbor and the meaning of my own life. I don’t want to miss the point. I don’t want to mistake self-righteousness for righteousness.
It’s not easy, living a life of deep God-Self-Neighbor awareness. But an easy life isn’t really what I want. A righteous and faithful one is. When I seek God, I must do so without harming others – even and most especially the ones I don’t like and don’t agree with. When I encounter my neighbor, I cannot forget that he or she is God related and God created- just like me. Steadfast love, faithfulness, and peace – gifts God offers that can only be opened with the help of my neighbor.
Guide my feet, O Lord, on this road to Bethlehem.
Photograph by Jared Fredrickson, high school learner, keen observer of life, child of God.