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

Home

My heart turns and returns to your nest,
Most Holy Love, Most Divine Imagination:

Turning and returning on the wings
of both wanderlust and satisfaction,

Turning and returning on the road
of my heart’s impatience and joy.

My soul turns and returns to your altar,
faint with humility and high with praise:

Turning and returning by the rising incense
of sweet revelation and burning prayers,

Turning and returning by the blessed rainfall
of splashing strength and flooding favor.

My heart turns and returns, and
returns and returns — praise God!

on Psalm 84;
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Distant Promises

They died in faith without having received God’s promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. (Hebrews 11:13)

What do we ask of you, O God,
but faithfulness in presence and
mercy from devouring powers?

What do you ask of us, O God,
but integrity in discipleship and
compassion in community?

How have we failed one another, O Christ?

What do we ask of you, O God,
but timeliness in justice and
holy fury in redemption?

What do you ask of us, O God,
but patience in labor and
hope in restoration?

How have we tested one another’s limits, O Call?

What do we ask of you, O God,
but a rock to rest upon and
reward for sacrifice?

What do you ask of us, O God,
but trust in your steadfastness and
surrender of our treasures?

How have we counted one another’s costs, O Creator?

What do we ask of you, O God,
but inspiration for renewal and
courage for peace?

What do you ask of us, O God, but
but humility in worship and
dreams of what may be?

How have we failed one another, O Covenant?

What do we ask of you, O God,
but that you come?
And what do you ask of us
but that we be ready?

And will it be so?

Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Chariots (Lent 18)

Easy enough
to confess
chariots
when I have none.

Easy enough
to set aside
pride in horses
with no stables to fill.

Easy enough
to surrender
financial confidence
with a check sure to bounce.

More difficult, I confess,
to abandon
measures of worth
by capacity and competence.

More difficult, O LORD,
to swallow my pride
and share the road
on days when I feel lost.

More difficult, truth be told,
to accept vulnerability
to the whims of time
and the magnitude of grace.

Let me confess, O God,
pride in chariots
for easy absolution and
we’ll leave the rest for tomorrow.

on Psalm 20:7

Lessons (Lent 13)

What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name? If an example of grace, I might be tempted to idolize and (try to) enact a perfect persona. If an example of faith, I might fold doubt beneath my coat or tuck it into my pockets like cold hands in winter, lest faith be revealed for its fragility. If an example of love, I might never love for fear of failing to live with a heart so generous as yours. If an example of mercy, I might betray how desperately we live without compassion for ourselves or one another, If an example of hope, I might be swept away be the despair of dreams unrealized. What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name?

on 1 Corinthians 13:13