Oil — source of food and warmth, healing and blessing... energy and wealth, conflict and pollution. At baptism we are anointed as holy, servant, and prophetic people. With this ancient sign of God’s abundance and blessing, rulers and prophets are marked; spiritual gifts and healing are conferred.
Mark the sign of the cross on your palms or forehead. If sharing the ritual with a community, anoint one another.
“ 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 olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, 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
The examples in these first two verses from Micah describe lavish gifts — gifts that even a very rich person would have trouble offering freely. God requires something even more than these gifts. Through our baptism, we are anointed by the Spirit to do God’s work in the world. What God requires of us is to become a people who long for justice. But do we have the courage to encounter the broken parts of our world? Are we willing to risk moving out of our comfort zones to encounter the systems of injustice that are at work? Do we have the humility to acknowledge our complicity with the powers and structures that oppress? Can we transform our lives and, in doing so, change our world? What is God calling me to become, to care about, to do?
After a couple of minutes of quiet reflection, close with this simple prayer (adapted from Psalm 46:10). Pause between each line for prayerful silence.
Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be. Amen.
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