Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Righteousness. We think of it as meaning “holy,” but its deepest meaning is “right way.” Paul reminds us that Abraham was not known for what he did since what he did was wander through a land without ever possessing that land. Abraham was righteous because he faithfully listened … believed … God. That was all it took to be considered righteous.
Paul points us to an economy that we find hard to understand. Our economy is built on the notion that work and pay somehow equal (though we know that not all work is equally valued for all people). Our standard of living is dictated by how much we make, but I do not thank God for my comfortable living. It didn’t come to me as a gift but by a combination of things that include work and privilege (the justice of which is, at best, ambiguous).
God’s economy, however, is very different. It isn’t based on how much we work. It really isn’t based on how much we “believe in God;” rather, it is based on whether we believe God. Even then, this isn’t about our salvation. This is about our ability to move forward in “the right way.” Walking humbly with God.
Doing this will mean that we will find ourselves in some odd places. It might mean that we find ourselves standing with refugees. It might mean we find ourselves holding hands with people with whom we sharply disagree both politically and theologically. In the past, it has meant speaking out about abuse and injustice. It has meant facing a tank in Tiananmen Square. It has meant kneeling in the gutters of Calcutta offering a word of love and grace to people in their last moments of life. It has meant standing on a bridge that links Selma and Montgomery. It is to follow God into places we would often rather not go.
So listen to God. Follow God. It is the right way to go!
Lead us, O God, in the ways of righteousness. Amen.