Trial and Error

Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with the people, and God will contend with Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!” – Micah 6:2-3 (NRSV)

A trial is underway. God is both plaintiff and judge. The people together are the defendant. And all creation – from the highest mountains to earth’s deepest foundations – is the jury.

It strikes me as appropriate that creation should assess humanity’s culpability for injustice and injury. When we judge one another, our own sinfulness distorts our assessment of others’ sins. In another’s abuses, we notice our own greeds or traumas. In another’s errors, we find reflections of our own fears or schemes. We assess too harshly or too leniently. We acquit our own guilt. We obstruct one another’s well-being.

The jury of creation is much more impartial, having known the faithfulness of God across decades and centuries, having experienced the upheaval and patience of change across millennia. By comparison, humans are fickle and impulsive, reckless and weak.

What has God’s faithfulness done to us, that we reject humility?

How has God’s love wearied us, that we neglect mercy?

How do we defend our case to the jury of mountains?

How do we answer for our persistent injustice?

The tabloids of heaven broadcast the controversy of a holy covenant broken by the people. Broken by us. Corrupted by us.

Do we not already know creation’s verdict?

God, have mercy: we are guilty of the charges against us. Christ, have mercy: we are guilty of excusing injustice. God, have mercy: we are accountable to the mountains, to one another, and to you.

written for the Daily Devotional

Joy

Lead us to the water, O Spirit,
calm in a pool or
flowing in a river or
pounding down a waterfall.

Lead us to the water where we can bathe,
splash, leap and laugh,
rinse and relax, soak for hours,
until violence is washed clean from our skin
and defensiveness is eased from our tense muscles.

Lead us to the water, O Spirit,
to hear prophets preach
and sinners repent,
to drink deeply of blessings.

Lead us to the water that flows beside a harvest
where the fruit is sweet, the grass lush,
the community lively and every person free,
where the way is wide and smooth
so that all people can travel as they sing.

Lead us to the water, O Spirit,
and we will be wise and
unrestrained in joy
until your reign is glorified.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

The Hills Are Alive

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy.
– Psalm 65:11-12 (NRSV)

The house where I grew up is purported to have been a speakeasy during Prohibition.

It’s not too hard to imagine. The house sits atop a hill along a rugged path (not a metaphor), as out-of-the-way and nearly inaccessible today as it was in the speakeasy days, when a rough wagon track climbed the hill and then continued its winding way along the mountain. A traveler would have had to be intent on that hilltop destination to choose such a difficult path.

In my childhood, I explored those old wagon tracks through the woods, but these days, much of the path is overgrown with brambles. Only deer and small wildlife can navigate it easily.

But oh! There are wild raspberries too along that way, when the season is right. Blueberries and teaberries if you know where to look. Blushing mountain laurel and swinging vines.

The overgrown wagon tracks may be intimidating to wagons and wanderers alike, but God’s wild richness on the trail is no less abundant.

Which is a lesson I’m trying to hold onto in these days when life seems determined to take the most difficult path possible: The wildness of the way overflows with beauty and bounty, even when the path is rough. The tracks across the hills are dressed in God’s joy, even amidst the brambles.

Let your bounty, O God, be the source of my joy even when I am snagged by brambles. Let me recognize the beauty of your path even when the way is overgrown.

written for the Daily Devotional

Held

As far as the sky is stretched
from east to west,
I am held.

As deep as the tree is planted
from mystery to miracle,
I am held.

As long as time is sustained
from birth to death,
I am held.

As high as the wind is called
from whisper to storm,
I am held.

As close as the galaxy is bound
from cell to star,
I am held.

on Isaiah 42:5-6

Dwelling

If the winds howl and the lightning flashes its threat,
nevertheless I will be at home in the storm
so long as you are there.

If the stars burn and the meteors rain with abandon,
nevertheless I will be at home in the heavens
so long as you are there.

If the road extends endlessly and companions part ways,
nevertheless I will be at home on the journey
so long as you are there.