As we make the transition from summer to fall, I find myself praying with greater intention words that we recite nearly every Sunday in worship:
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid
(Book of Common Prayer)
In addition, I have taken as my rule of life words from the prophet Micah that Jesus clearly lived by:
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?
Amid the quickening pace and many tasks of early autumn, the first prayer helps me to remember that God sees and knows not only my outward-facing self, but also my inner life, full of hopes and contradictions, giftedness and sin, strength and vulnerability. It helps me remember that every one of us has such a life beneath and beyond our public personas and the roles we play in one another’s lives.
Micah’s words are at the heart of a nation-wide effort among Christians during the upcoming election season to promote a way of engaging in important matters of justice in the public arena with clarity, kindness and appropriate humility. It’s called The Be Campaign, and I invite you to consider taking part in upcoming weeks, as individuals and communities of faith. Join in taking the Be Just, Kind and Humble Pledge as your own.
This is more than a public ministry initiative for me. It is at the heart of my relationship with Jesus and the guiding principle of my life. In all that I do and say, from the moment I rise in the morning until I lay my head down at night, I am praying for the grace to heed Micah’s words. What can I do each day to be just, kind and humble? What must I refrain from doing–and saying–that does not rise to the aspirational standards of these three imperatives?
In his book, Love is the Way, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry writes of this approach as “standing and kneeling at the same time.” In other words, he encourages us to stand firm in the truth as we understand it and the convictions of justice that the Gospel of Jesus mandates while at the same time kneeling in humility before the dignity of every human being, especially those with whom we struggle or disagree.
Let me be clear that such an approach does not mean that we avoid challenging issues in our personal relationships or the hard and often divisive work of justice. Rather, as Jesus-followers we engage the work with sacrificial commitment, kindness and humility, virtues that are sorely lacking in nearly every area of life.
To be sure, there is much before us in the days and weeks ahead, as individuals, faith communities, and the nation. As you take up your work, I pray that you may feel and know God’s love for you, the One to whom your heart is open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden. And that together, by grace, we may make our just, kind and humble witness to Jesus and his way of love for all.