Why worship? Why attend a church? Why hold onto faith? Join us for Leadership Sunday when the elected officers of the congregation lead us in worship. Hear about our experience at the Leadership Retreat, and explore with us these WHY questions. All are welcome here, really, even those who ask why!
‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
A PDF of the sermon as distributed at Calvary is available for download and printing.
This morning, we mark and celebrate Leadership Sunday. The elected leaders of this congregation: the elders and deacons met for most of the day yesterday, training, eating together, building relationships, and discussing why it is we do what we do. The theme for the retreat, led by our own Joanne Whitt, was “Why We Start with Why.”
Today, I am particularly grateful for the leadership of our elders, deacons, and trustees in worship, and every day we are grateful for all the ways that each and every one of you serve God through your service to the church and to the world. Now, the scripture lesson for this morning is from the lectionary, and it includes my all-time favorite verse: Micah 6:8 – “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”
It is one of those core verses from the canon that anchor so many people. In fact, yesterday, 1/4 of the small groups chose it as the scripture for why they Calvary exists. Micah 6:8 is also included in the Mission, Vision, and Values Statement of this church. Many would argue that that statement is our collective answer to WHY? You can find that statement on line on our website and this morning you can also find a large copy of it in Calvin Hall.
Micah 6:8 has long been included in my own statement of faith and what I believe God calls me to do. Right after graduating from seminary, I was often asked in interviews with churches and committees: “What do I believe I am called to do by God? Do I feel called to a church, a specific kind of ministry setting, like pastoral ministry or chaplaincy or non-profit work? Where is God calling me?” And in my discernment of my call, I realized that it possible that God could call me to any of those settings, and that the ministry to which I’m called is not to a particular place or even a specific church, but that I am called to live and do the work of Micah 6:8 – to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
No matter where or in what context I might serve, if I am able to live into that call, then I believe God has put me there and that I am in the right place. Now, seemingly, this passage from the prophet Micah answers the question WHAT? What does God require of us? But I believe it can also address the question WHY? Why do we do what we do? Why do we come together to worship in community? Why do spend the morning of Super Bowl Sunday not making guacamole, but singing hymns? Why do we pray together and break bread together? Why?
Because God loves justice, because God loves kindness, but most of all because God loves us and wants to walk with us in this journey called life. And in reaction to that love, we respond with our whole lives, with our whole selves, with all of whom God created us to be. For me, Micah 6:8 is more than just WHAT to do, it is WHY I do what I do.
Now, this morning, I am privileged to share the pulpit with 3 other ordained leaders of this congregation. Teddy Guenin, Amy Hockman, and John Hanna will each share a bit about their thoughts and reflections on the big question of WHY.
Thank you to Teddy (elder), Amy (elder), and John (deacon) for sharing so profoundly about your experience and your reasons WHY.
I believe the gospel is preached by all of us when we can honestly and humbly articulate that why.
Thanks be to God.