A Lawsuit of Love

Micah 6:1-8

[Watch the video here.]

The people dwelled in rubble:
Buildings in ruins, dreams dashed.
Colonizers cast them into a place not their own.
They had no home of their own. Bereft and abandoned
as the powerful seized their houses and their fields.

The people are smarting.
We will take God to court!
Because God has let our enemies gloat!

God responds:
O my people! O my dears!
Have you forgotten our relationship?
Don’t you remember?
You have been rescued,
liberated, and set free from the oppressive ways of Pharoah.

God has a dispute with the people. God puts the people on trial.
The hills wills serve as witnesses;
the mountains will be the jury.
In this lawsuit,
God reminds the people of the commitment they made;
it is their relationship that God wants to restore.

I miss you! God is saying.
Remember our dalliance?
I am always bringing you out of Egypt and taking you by the hand.

Oh! the people suddenly realize,
We have spurned you.
How can we make up for it?

They try to offer something over the top to make up for their shortcomings.
Will a special gift do it?
Or a one-time pronouncement of love like in the movies?
However, that is not what our sweet God wants.
Our Holy Lover wants uninterrupted connection with us. Every day.

Listen here mortal, the prophet Micah writes,
God has already made abundantly clear what “good” is,
and what God needs from you: simply do justice,
love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.

All I want is for you to be in right relationship, God is saying.
Non-coercive relationship.
Non dominant relationship.

No, God doesn’t want objects.
No, God does not want measures obtained dishonestly.
No swindling.
No expropriating other people’s goods and energies.

Let other people simply live.

What God desires is unfettered access to our heart.

This is good.

Do what is just.
Love mercy.
Move and live with humility.

Micah reminds us that true religion
is not about how we fashion ourselves outwardly
but how we give ourselves to inner transformation.

God shows us how to pursue transformation:
Act justly. Love graciously. Walk with humility.

I love that a passage from Micah is read every year
at Yom Kippur, or the week after Jewish New Year.
At Yom Kippur, the Jewish people proclaim forgiveness and
atonement, or at-one-ment with God

Every year, they proclaim these words from Micah:

Who is a god like you, a forgiver of sin who overlooks the transgression
of the remnant of God’s heritage?
God does not hold on to God’s anger forever for God takes delight in kindness.
God will again have compassion on us; and tread our iniquity underfoot.
You will hurl to the sea-depth all our offenses.

This is how the lawsuit ends. It ends with a word that energizes.
A word that hums in our heart a song of liberation.

Micah teaches us how to become at one with The One.

Act justly, Micah tells us.

Yet, what does justice look like?
Justice is more than just our thoughts and prayers.
It is a changing of society.
It is being pro-beloved community.

What is the part of justice that speaks to you?
What does God require of you?

Walking with humility requires us to be willing to hear God’s desire,
to feel God’s hunger for everyone to be at the table.

What is your passion?
What is your hunger?
What are you called to be for the beloved community,
that Micah is dreaming of?

Imagine what the beloved community could look like.
When you see that image,
what pulls on your heart?
How does desire pull on your heart?

Oh! I see a world
where animals are treated humanely
and we stop killing the earth
and every lonely soul in prison has a pen pal
and everyone gets the health care that they need
and no one has to suffer for lack of food and shelter.
A world where we learn to communicate with each other
in healthy, non-dominant ways.
Where greed ceases to be our highest value.

Dream. Act justly. Love graciously. Move with softness.
We can construct a beloved community together.

Micah invites us to move in the world with humility
so that we might honestly see
how we are not living up to this visionary community.
Where are we called to be mercy? To be humble? To receive feedback?
To be refined in the crucibles of change?
Where can we grow?
How can we offer ourselves?

Change our posture?

J. O. Y.

Release the defense lawyer.
Reconcile yourself to God.
Who has already forgotten all your shortcomings.

And wants only your heart.
Your dear, soft, fleshy heart.

Oh my people. O my dears.

What is missing?
Don’t you see that it is you?

I don’t want your objects.
I want you. Your hunger. Your talent. Your heart.

I. Want. You.

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