“With what shall I come before the Lord,” Micah 6:6
At house church last night with myself and the other 17 people gathered in my living room, I witnessed people coming before the Lord. We began with a time of worship, prayer and sharing the Lord’s Supper together. Afterwards, we read together Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15, I Corinthians 1:18-31 and Matthew 5:1-12. As the evening progressed from the groups sharing their reflections Micah 6:6, “With what shall I come before the Lord” was what the Spirit had me meditate on. What and how we are to come before God is so counterintuitive from what we think and how we come before God in allot of churches.
Gathered around my living room were 18 people who admitted they were broken. There was a couple who just declared bankruptcy and were wearied from the struggle, Two persons were unemployed and struggling to find work. Another person who said they were having chest pains and would go to the doctor but they do not medical insurance and could not afford a doctor visit. Another family is challenged raising their four children while one parent is attending seminary. Another person recently was laid off and is getting eviction notices from his mortgage company. And Nancy and I who are challenged by my raising my own support to minister to those on the margins, Nancy working two jobs, and raising two daughters, one who is graduating high school this spring and college expenses looming. Despite all our admitted broken condition we came before the Lord and his presence was real to us.
As we took turns going around the room reading the passages a few people struggled when it came their turn to read. Yet “with what you come before the Lord" with does not include being able to read well, to say lofty prayers or having an extensive knowledge of Scripture. “ There was a Holiness is the imperfection of the prayers and reading of Scripture. There was a holy humility in reading out of a posture of weakness and awe instead of confidence and control.
The Lord’s Supper was celebrated by a man who is unemployed and just recently has returned to seeking God. He came before the Lord to break the bread and bless the cup yet he did not have a priest’s collar around his neck, he was not wearing clergy vestments, and he did not have a seminary degree. According to the religious disciplines of my denomination he is not authorized and prohibited to come before the Lord and celebrate Holy Communion. However he came before the Lord without any religious status or qualifications and God still met him in his breaking of the bread and he was shaking as God’s grace over whelmed him, it was a holy and I believe a life changing moment for him.
As I sat there and this gathering of the church unfolded around myself I thought about how my understanding of “with what shall I come before the Lord” was radically different by leading this church gathering then when I led traditional church services. In those settings “with what I come before the Lord” would have been enforced in me based on my command of Scripture, my performance and inspiring words of my sermon, my privileged authority to celebrate the Lord’s supper, and my lofty words of prayer over the congregation. This gathering of church enforced in me the complete opposite.
With what shall I come before the Lord with.” It is not with the satisfaction of knowing you have regularly attended weekly church gatherings and Bible studies. It is not with a level of entitlement because you serve on a church committee. You do not bring into his presence a confidence based on you’re your competency in Scripture or command of prayer. “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1Cor. 1:28)
Read this morning Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15, I Corinthians 1:18-31 and Matthew 5:1-12. Then prayerfully reflect on “With what shall I come before the Lord with.”