Hear what the Lord is saying:
Arise, lay out the lawsuit before the mountains;
let the hills hear your voice!
Hear, mountains, the lawsuit of the Lord!
Hear, eternal foundations of the earth!
The Lord has a lawsuit against his people… – Micah 6
Part Two of my Sunday reflection is Rebekah’s sermon. She preached on the “classic” Micah 6:8 passage but presented the message in such a fresh way and with such a prophetic tone that it rates as one her more powerful sermons of recent years.
And not easy. This was one of those times when she prefaced what she had to say with, “Some of the things I talk about may offend some of you or make you angry. So I want you to remember that I love you.”
You see it is exactly because the gospel is born out of love, and because this faith business is authentic, and because salvation is not something we passively receive but actively engage, and because we are called to the ministry of reconciliation that we must deal with difficult, challenging, relevant questions.
I want you to listen to the message for yourselves because Rebekah preached her socks off Sunday morning! (you can find it at the 24-minute mark of this link – there are some sound issues earlier in the service but the message is 100% clear). But I’m also writing about it here because a great sermon isn’t only entertaining, it is necessarily inspirational.
Setting the stage:
Sound-bite scriptures like Micah 6:8 are quoted so often they sometimes lose the power and the depth that comes from hearing the story in context.
So Rebekah pointed out that the passage is set up like a courtroom drama. The jury is all of Creation. The plaintiff, the prosecutor, is God. And the defendant, the one standing trail, that is me, it is you, it is – collectively – all of us.
I looked at the person sitting beside me in church. “We’re toast,” I said.
Then God brings the complaint. The indictment against us begins with, “My people, what did I ever do to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! (v.3)”
The people respond by asking if burnt offerings might help… a calf or thousands of sheep or a boatload of oil? Or even, unthinkably, the sacrifice of a child? (Micah 6:7-8)
That is when God points out the obvious, reminding us of what we should already know and what – if we put our faith into practice – we would already be invested in.
“Listen! How many times do we have to go over this? Let me remind you of the essence of what it means to be my people!”
He has told you, human one, what is good and
what the Lord requires from you:
to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8
Rebekah then got to preaching justice. What she did, in the vernacular, is “bring it”!!
Like the lyrics in that classic Alanis Morissette song, “Can you handle this?”
- Black Lives Matter – can you handle this?
- The “Me Too” movement – can you handle this?
- Civil Rights, including LGBTQ and immigrants and religious minorities and other marginalized people – can you handle this?
- The national movement to invest in education and support teachers – can you handle this?
- Gun violence; suicide; Virginia Beach – can you handle this?
At breakfast Sunday morning, just before early church, Rebekah changed the message to a two-parter.
So how do we respond to God’s indictment? What is a Christian to do? Come back to church next week and find out.
- (you can find Rebekah’s message at the 24-minute mark of this link).
I know I’ll be there – DEREK