What We Call Essential

Have you ever had to see your past from a whole new angle?

It happened this morning, in church, to me.

“This is a sermon about one of the most popular and well-known verses in the Bible,” said our pastor, introducing the sermon …

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?
Micah 6:8

That was a shock.

You have to understand … I learned to read the Bible early, as a child. The church we went to had a “solid” memory work program; we had lists of verses and passages in the Bible to memorize and recite, keyed to our ages, from kindergarten through sixth grade. I memorized them all. Some, like Psalm 23, year after year. [I ALWAYS went on the yearly Sunday school trip to Disneyland we could go on if we’d memorized enough scripture.]

“The important ones.” “The ones everyone should know.” The popular, well-known ones.

Micah 6:8 wasn’t on any of those lists.

The first time I heard it was as “that beautiful postlude” the choir always sang at the Presbyterian church I started attending when we moved to Indiana …

The people who taught me to read and learn and love the Bible have my undying gratitude and love.

But there were whole neighborhoods of the Bible they never took me to.

[On the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany.]

red line embellished

snowy landscape with church in the background

2 responses to “What We Call Essential”

  1. My first awareness of Micah 6:8– Maybe eight years ago, member of our Sunday School Class noted that many decades ago as a teenager, she had asked her father if he had a “philosophy of life.” He replied by naming and quoting Micah 6:8. Of course she memorized it on the spot and made it her guiding philosophy. She told us and we quickly adopted it, only to realize over the ensuing years that lots of others also consider it “theirs.”


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