Date: July 30, 2017
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
Asheville, North Carolina
30 July 2017
Sermon: “Simple Acts”
Rev. Samantha Gonzalez
Every morning as the sun rises, Timoteo begins his long
cent up the mountain by foot
sized piece of farm land that looks over the city of San Miguel, Guatemala
the place he calls home. He has been making that journey up the mountain each day since
he was nine year
helping his father care for that cherished piece of land
years later, Timoteo leads the way, as ten youth and adults from our
presbytery (myself included) breathe heavily and try to keep up.
As part of the Presbytery Youth Delegation to Guatemala this summer, I felt privileged to
ime with Timoteo. He is part of a coffee farming cooperative called “De La Gente.”
Through this organization, he and twelve other local farmers are able to no longer lean on
big businesses, but instead work together to share resources and labor.
produce coffee that is ready to be bought and sold at home and abroad. And their
direct profits have helped them keep their children in school
t some of them
and most importantly, there is food on the table each night.
e reached the top of the mountain, Timoteo didn’t give us much time to catch our
breath. He rolled up his sleeves and began to tell us all of the ins and outs of coffee farming:
when the bean becomes red
or yellow it is
time for it to be picked, when the c
turns seven it should be cut down to its stump, some shade is necessary for growth (but not
nd so on and so forth.
a shovel deep into the ground and asked who was ready to dig a hole for a
new coffee plant. One of our
named Ben eagerly volunteered
and Timoteo watched
closely as Ben carefully pushed the shovel through the dirt. Next
Hannah stepped in and
we had made a hole deep enough for Paige to place a new
coffee plant in the groun
“That was hard work!” shouted Max. “How many holes do you dig a day, Timoteo?”
“Oh, about two hundred.”
Two hundred holes a day!
For us, Timoteo’s work felt impossibly strenuous, but for him, this
was a simple task. He i
s accustomed to hard work
ecause he has
spent his life
skills, the stamina, and the strength to do it well.
Being a Christian is hard work.
And doing justice “in the name of God” is no simple task.
I look around the room today,
I am reminded that as a congre
we feel especially
drawn to justice work. We use our garden as a source of nourishment for those in need
e open our church doors to twelve women seeking shelter
e get out
nd get moving in
our community (
cleaning up the river, building relation
try to create a worship
environment where all feel welcome as they are.
It is exciting to experience so many shovels digging deep into the dirt.
And yet today’s passage forces us to think critically and prayerfully about our approach to
Surely, caring for those in need and speaking out for the marginalized are Christ’s work, but
Micah reminds us that we cannot even attempt to “do justice” until we place it alongside
“loving kindness” and “walking humbly with our God”.
I don’t know about you, but kindness and humility are not necessarily the first words
that come to mind when I think about diving into justice work. I mean, come on, I went to
Union Seminary in New
York City. W
hen I think justice
I think late night march
es, sit ins,
holding signs, chanting with a crowd. And I’m not the only one. Many pastors who preach
on this text stop right after Micah calls us to “do justice” (they don’t even touch the rest of
Why would Micah, why would God, set justice
, kindness and humility alongside one
another and require us to embrace them all
all at once?
Now, we meet Micah during a very precarious time in the li
ves of our Biblical ancestors.
Imagine a serious courtroom drama (
the people vs. God).
being charged with
slacking in their faith
no longer praising God with their full hearts, souls
, and minds,
no longer turning to their Creator for guidance and comfort as they navigate a difficult and
God is furious and declares that th
ey have broken their covenant promise. They have
forgotten all that God has done to free them, and all that God is doing to protect and care
for them now.