Monday, May 13, 2013

Do Justice; Love Mercy; Walk Humbly

"With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."--Micah 6:6-8

One of my favorite things to do for fun in Little Rock is go to The Firefly, a paint-your-own-pottery studio, located in a shopping center near my church.  It's an inexpensive (usually--depending on what you decide to paint!) and relaxing way to have some fun and let the creative juices flow a little bit.  Except mine don't really flow.  It's more like a drip.  But that's beside the point.  I still manage to have a good time, and have painted everything from a small cross, to several tiles/coasters, a jar, a couple of coffee cups, even a couple of big platters.  Most of the stuff turns out alright-but-not-great, and I usually keep it to myself.  A few items, however, have been given away as gifts.  One was a platter that I painted for my friends Johnathan and Haley when they got married; another was a Buzz Lightyear piggy bank that I painted for one of my nephews;  another was a platter that I painted for one of my nieces last year; and yet another was this tile, pictured below.

I painted this tile back sometime in the late spring/early summer of 2009, as a gift for my blogfather, Keith.  I knew that Micah 6:8 was his favorite verse, and I asked him what his favorite color was (dark green).  So I went in one Saturday morning and painted for a couple of hours, and a couple of weeks later it was done.  I think I had planned to give it to him sometime around his birthday (July) but decided I couldn't wait.  At the time, he worked at our church, so I was able to slip into his office and just leave it on his desk while he was in 2nd service that Sunday morning.
I've dubbed Keith my "blogfather" for several reasons:  his blog was the first one I ever read (before I found his page, I had never even seen one!); he's one of my favorite writers (people like him are the ones that I envy when I think about creative juices flowing while mine are just dripping); and it was after reading his blog for a year that I decided to start writing one of my own (they say imitation is the highest form of flattery). 
I've got a lot of favorite posts of Keith's, that he's written over the years, but I wanted to share a couple of them here.  You see, Keith is certainly a unique individual, but one of the very first things I noticed about him years ago was that in church on Sundays, Wednesdays--anytime, really--Keith would always kneel whenever we prayed.  It didn't take me long to figure out why, as I was going through his blog archives and came across where he had written (on two separate occasions!) about why he kneels.  Those posts can be found here and here.  In them, he explains what he noticed in Scripture: 
  • How many good people in Scripture, including Jesus Himself, knelt to pray;
  • How many people approached their king/master by kneeling; 
  • How many people approached Jesus, with either a need or a word of praise, by kneeling.
He observed how so often it was a way for people to express their humility, their brokenness, their need, and their respect for the God they came in contact with.  Knowing the heart behind his actions, it was always a blessing whenever I had the chance to witness Keith kneeling in prayer.
Keith has always struck me as a person of humility, and I've never witnessed that more magnificently than I did this weekend, when he stood up to say a few words at his sweet wife's funeral on Saturday.  In his speech, Keith said that if he was able to properly paint a picture of Ms. Angi's life, he was convinced that the only people who would leave there sad would be those who didn't have the chance to know her.  I would have to say that he was successful, as I didn't have the pleasure of knowing his precious wife.  But it was apparent that she was a marvelous educator, and Keith very bravely shared with us some of the most important lessons that he learned from his nearly twenty-three years of marriage to Ms. Angi: 
  • How to love people unconditionally;
  • How to be a good listener; 
  • How to be a good spouse;
  • How to forgive;
  • How to be like Jesus. 
At Ms. Angi's graveside, our preaching minister read the above passage of Scripture, from Micah 6, and as another minister led us in prayer, I once again saw Keith's humility, his brokenness, his need, and his respect for the God that we worship, as I once again saw him kneeling in prayer to our God.  Keith, your attitude of humility continues to bless those around you.  Thank you, dear brother, for allowing your heart for our Father to continue to shine--even on the darkest of days.  
"With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?...And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

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