An Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers — Day Three

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Micah 2:1-13, The Message

Doom to those who plot evil,
    who go to bed dreaming up crimes!
As soon as it’s morning,
    they’re off, full of energy, doing what they’ve planned.
They covet fields and grab them,
    find homes and take them.
They bully the neighbor and his family,
    see people only for what they can get out of them.
God has had enough. He says,
    “I have some plans of my own:
Disaster because of this interbreeding evil!
    Your necks are on the line.
You’re not walking away from this.
    It’s doomsday for you.
Mocking ballads will be sung of you,
    and you yourselves will sing the blues:
‘Our lives are ruined,
    our homes and lands auctioned off.
They take everything, leave us nothing!
    All is sold to the highest bidder.’”
And there’ll be no one to stand up for you,
    no one to speak for you before God and his jury.

“Don’t preach,” say the preachers.
    “Don’t preach such stuff.
Nothing bad will happen to us.
    Talk like this to the family of Jacob?
Does God lose his temper?
    Is this the way he acts?
Isn’t he on the side of good people?
    Doesn’t he help those who help themselves?”

“What do you mean, ‘good people’!
    You’re the enemy of my people!
You rob unsuspecting people
    out for an evening stroll.
You take their coats off their backs
    like soldiers who plunder the defenseless.
You drive the women of my people
    out of their ample homes.
You make victims of the children
    and leave them vulnerable to violence and vice.
Get out of here, the lot of you.
    You can’t take it easy here!
You’ve polluted this place,
    and now you’re polluted—ruined!
If someone showed up with a good smile and glib tongue
    and told lies from morning to night—
‘I’ll preach sermons that will tell you
    how you can get anything you want from God:
More money, the best wines . . . you name it’—
    you’d hire him on the spot as your preacher!

“I’m calling a meeting, Jacob.
    I want everyone back—all the survivors of Israel.
I’ll get them together in one place—
    like sheep in a fold, like cattle in a corral—
    a milling throng of homebound people!
Then I, God, will burst all confinements
    and lead them out into the open.
They’ll follow their King.
    I will be out in front leading them.”

Ouch! Micah has little patience for anyone claiming to be a God-person who is not interested in justice for everyone. I like the fact that this reading has been chosen to be a part of our Advent rotation. It’s good for me to remember that not everyone in this world is as materially blessed as I am — and that my own particular set of blessings are not the result of my own ‘good’ behavior, but only of grace and circumstance.

Micah has no patience for prosperity gospel crapola, does he? He refuses to fall into the trap of believing that, “God helps those who help themselves.” No, we are called to help one another. We are called to make space for God to help us — never to ‘go it alone,’ or to ‘pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.’ There is a much-needed call in these words to balance our self-care (which is a good and necessary thing) with other-care. And to remember that our God looks on our hearts, sees our true motives, and wants to help guide us into a life of generosity, sensitivity and gracious giving.

Lord, I need help here. Open my eyes to the spaces around me that need my hands, my eyes, my attention. I don’t want to sing the blues because I have failed to ‘do justice’ in my community. Help me, Lord, to respond well to the needs of others, to resist judging anyone, and to own up to the truth that I have far more than I will ever need. Maybe it’s time to share it a little better?

 

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Comments

  1. Amen, Diana, well spoken!
    Blessings!

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