Good morning all! Yay for Friday!!
Today’s scripture: Micah 7:18-20 (Message)
Where is the god who can compare with you—
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean.
You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob
and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham—
Everything you promised our ancestors
from a long time ago.
Have you read parts of the book of Micah before? Micah is one of the 12 minor prophets in the Bible and carries a lot in few verses. The book is only seven chapters long but it hits on all sorts of social justice work, calling out power work, and speaking of the nature of God work. It is a good little book to read all the way through if you haven’t done that before. Micah is most known for chapter six where he calls us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. If nothing else, those are great actions to strive for and you can carry that away today as your prayer. But lectionary today gave us a glimpse into the last chapter of Micah,
Micah comes to us from roughly 750-100 BCE (before common era). Micah is a prophet during the reign of Hezekiah and Ahaz. These are two kings who are well known throughout the time of the prophet in the Old Testament. There is a lot going on with folks during these reigns. Micah’s career comes after a long period of peace and at the beginning of lots of pressure from Assyria. Micah is about looking forward to where the Israelites might look after the exile and after this pressure from Assyria.
In fact, when we enter the story today, we enter into what scholars call part of the “oracle of restoration” in Micah. Micah has already called out for social justice. He has already called out for lament and future. And now, at the end of the book, Micah reminds us of the nature of God through restoration. We hear of God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, and God’s general love and compassion for humanity. All of the things that make restoration work.
What does it mean to do the work of restoration? I was in a young clergy gathering the other day, chatting with the Bishop of our area. He asked me what might our vision be for the future of the church? I responded right away that I believe our vision should be about restoration…restoring the earth, restoring the prophetic voice to call out against injustice and inequality, restoring wholeness to people who have been hurt by the Church in the past, and restoring the marginalized and places where the Empire doesn’t touch. Restoration technically means renewal and returning something too. I believe this restoration is about wholeness and returning to God’s loving embrace. This is our vision and mission and it is what Micah is exclaiming.
What restores you? What returns you to wholeness and to God? Is it an adventure? Is it a walk out of doors? Is it quiet time with a delicious cup of coffee? Is it just breathing in all of the goodness? Is it chatting with someone you love? Whatever it is….do that today. And then think about how we might help to restore others to God’s embrace. How might we show this love to others?