United Church of Christ

The Word is Very Near You

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” … No, the word is very near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. - Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (NRSV)

My church is going through a visioning process, to understand what God is calling us to be and do for the next 3-5 years. As of this writing, the conversation has gotten a little contentious. Does God want us to focus on homelessness or food insecurity? Climate change or systemic racism? LGBTQI rights or immigrant detention?

In the midst of this conversation, some have even asked: Can we ever really know what God wants? How dare we presume to know the mind of God?

We might think that in order to be initiated into the workings of God’s mind we have to go on an Indiana-Jones-style quest, or undergo a top-secret initiation after years of study.

But the reality is, God has put all the goods right in front of us, like eye-level candy at the supermarket. Even those of us whose personal Bibles gather a lot of dust can likely come up with a few scriptural gems without breaking a sweat: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Bless those who curse you. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly. Feed my sheep.

The word is very near you, God says. Not even as far as your dust-gathering Bible: but in your heart, and in your very mouth. Open them.

Prayer

God, whatever I’m discerning right now, nudge me out of analysis paralysis when it comes to knowing what you want me to do, and then acting on it. You have said it’s not too hard. I’m taking you at your word. Amen.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of First Congregational Church UCC in Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church, Standing Naked Before God, and her newest baby,  Bless This Mess: A Modern Guide to Faith and Parenting in a Chaotic World.

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