8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you? … do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Do you ever wonder what kind of shadow you cast on the planet? Do you ever wonder, ponder what impact you have on the lives around you?
When God says, through the prophet Micah, that God has told us mortals what is good, I know from my reading of the rest of scripture (we call this intertextuality) that what is “good” indeed “very good” is us, and this planet which we all so harm with our greed for speed and comfort. And of course, the Hebrew for “good” is also the word for “beautiful.” So there’s that.
Having told us that we are beautiful, God requires something. Well, three things. Justice, kindness and humility. Well, I guess two out of three is good. I seek justice all the time but it is within the church and always seems to get me in trouble. Our system likes obedient, quiet clergy. And it rewards them. And I am kind. That is one thing I can see about myself. I have lapses, but most days I am kind. Except to myself. To myself I am ruthless in my demands, borne out of my deep insecurities. It makes my friends crazy. They even have interventions with me (a really uncomfortable evening, usually!) in which they suggest vacations, sabbaths and bath salts.
Humility is something we have or we don’t. It is hard to cultivate humility unless life cultivates it for us by its particular kind of meat-tenderizing. Our failures, if we take time to see them, will force us to our knees if we let them. Then, on the earth, near some grass, we are humbled. Humility – the word – comes from “humus” or dirt. Humility is about being grounded, earthbound. Thrones are never on earth. They are lifted up. And they come in so many forms.
Perhaps our shadow on earth is only possible if we are on it from time to time.