Bishop Election Devotional for February 2019
Micah 6:8 – “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?”
By Bishop Emerita Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl (Synod Bishop 1995-2007)
We read this verse with New Testament eyes, though it is from an Old Testament prophet who sought to warn his hearers about how their behavior was impacting their chances of being loved, or protected/favored, by God. Our New Testament eyes see these words through the Cross of Christ as words of Call for us. Words that stand out ahead of us in our lives of discipleship, beckoning us to walk this road, find this path, nurture this spirit in ourselves and among those we journey with.
It’s the view through the Cross that makes this verse a call for us, whether we be a candidate for Bishop, or a Church Council member, or a newly confirmed young adult. We are called to act with justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
I remember hearing other Bishops who had been serving for many years give this advice to those of us who were just starting our terms: “The office (of Bishop) shapes the person (who has been elected Bishop) more than the person shapes the office”. And also: “Serving as Bishop isn’t just what you do, it is who you are.” At first I thought the advice was daunting, but then realized it was helpful perspective for my new call, as well as for our lives as followers of Jesus. We all know being a Christian isn’t something one ‘does’ from time to time, but rather something one simply IS at all times.
Being in a leadership role in our own congregations or serving as Bishop of a Synod means we are called to set the tone in our life of faith together: we are called to be those who will dependably act with justice; and who love opportunity to show or do kindness. Our call as Bishop or layperson, youth or elder is to be those who have a close walking and working relationship with God, as known through Jesus, and with the aid of gifts from the Spirit. We are shaped by Jesus, and our Baptismal call, no matter what roles and callings we receive in life. Following Him is who we are, not just some things we do.
Let us Pray
Lift us up, we pray, O God, to follow your Son in seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with you. Keep us close to you in our journey; light our way and call our names in the darkness that we may always follow in faith, confident of your presence in all we do, through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.
ELW #720 “We are Called”
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