The Micah reading from this past Sunday is remarkable because it takes the shape of a court case, but you might have missed that if you weren't following along carefully. There are many ways to imagine the roles in the court drama, but here is how I see them:
God as JUDGE addresses the jury (the mountains and hills):
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
and he will contend with Israel.
God as PROSECUTING ATTORNEY addresses the jury and defendant and brings the charges:
3 ‘O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.’
Micah, on behalf of all of us as DEFENDANTS in this case, pleads guilty and offers to make recompense:
6 ‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
God, again as JUDGE, hands down the verdict (or is it the hills handing it down?)
8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
The VERDICT releases God's people for community service. Or if you prefer, releases them for the GOOD BEHAVIOR of Jesus Christ, certainly not us!
The community service of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God is a life time of work - difficult work at that. But we have to start somewhere. So this week, find a way to do justice
or if nothing else, as least take a walk (HUMBLY) and notice the beauty of God's people, especially the upside down beauty of the Beatitudes.