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From The Chaplain's Desk
From the Chaplain's Desk - What does the Lord require?

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  FEBRUARY 6, 2019 --

He has told you, O man, 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?  

Micah 6:8

The prophet Micah was active during the reigns of King Ahaz and Hezekiah of Judah.  The above-quoted passage comes at the end of a denunciation of those who outwardly perform all kinds of rituals and sacrifices in hopes of gaining God’s favor, but in their daily lives continue to lie and cheat, rob the poor, and accept bribes rather than dispense justice.  Micah points out that all these religious ceremonies and actions count for nothing if one does not have a change of heart and have true repentance, which is shown outwardly by showing kindness and mercy and dispensing true justice.

Micah was not the first prophet to point out this discrepancy between outward acts of devotion and inward thoughts and behavior towards others, nor was he the last. In the first chapter of Isaiah we read: 

“The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.”

And this thought also shows up in the Psalms.  In Psalm 51 we find:

Help me to speak, Lord, and I will praise you. You do not want sacrifices, or I would offer them; you are not pleased with burnt offerings. My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.

The message from all this is clear:  it is not important what house of worship you attend,  or what day or hour of the week you worship, or whether you repeat the proper creeds or say the approved prayers or burn the right candles.  What is important is that you have a loving relationship with God and reflect it in your heart by your love and charity towards those around you.


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