Day 6/October 30 Devotion

Reflection by the Rev. Ray Ranker
Pastor and Chaplain of Lutheran Campus Ministry, University of Maryland

As a high schooler I interned for my local county council member. It was a great experience for me, and all these years later I only remember one specific topic that we talked about: his desire to begin each council session with a public prayer. He was a Christian, and his proposal was controversial; several council members were vociferously against it. I remember thinking that, as prayer was/is important to me, I applauded him for this ‘fight for public prayer’. Looking back now, I’m not so sure. On the one hand, yes, prayer continues to be essential for me and roots me (and us) to God, the Church and one another. On the other hand, wouldn’t the time and energy that he put into lobbying for this proposed change have been better spent on doing justice?

Micah 6: 6-8

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?

Questions to Ponder

  1. What are the things that matter most to God?
  2. Where are the places where I prefer public displays of religion to the hard work of digging into the tough issues around justice work?
  3. Does it always need to be an either/or?  How can I both walk humbly with God in a public way, while also working towards justice and offering loving mercy?

Silence for Reflection

Prayer

Dear God, you love me even though I have faults.  And you love others, including political opponents, even though they have faults.  Help me in my walk to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you oh God.  Help me to lift up the marginalized of society in both my prayers and in my actions. Amen.

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