“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? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 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?
Micah 6:6-8, NRSV
Last week, our democracy and our patience were put to the test. Whether you watched things unfold minute-by-minute or checked the AP poll from time to time, we were living in another historic moment of an historic year. Now, the people have spoken. Now what?
According to Micah 6:6-8, it is time to either continue or start the work of justice. This election was a down payment on a new home for democracy. However, the home has not been built. We build it by following the principles found in Micah 6:6-8.
To put things in context, Micah 6 begins with God reprimanding Israel for forgetting all that God has done for them. As usual, as soon as they got out of the woods of danger and oppression, they turned their backs on God. As usual, they were in the hotseat for being more human than chosen children of God. Are we going to continue being like the children of Israel in the United States, or are we going to break the mold?
For those of us who cried out with our votes for a change in the country when our backs were against the wall, how long will we remain true to the call to be both citizens of heaven and citizens of the United States of America? Are we going to fight to keep our democracy alive without compromising our faith and without compromising the call to justice?
The election was a down payment, a promise. Now we must pay the mortgage every month with our acts of justice, kindness and humility. We talked about loving our neighbors when we were in captivity in the anti-democracy. Now that we are free, what are we going to do about it? Are going to offer burnt offerings and such in the form of empty talk or are we going to do the good and necessary work?
The test will come when it is time to love the neighbor who voted differently than we did. Are we going to crowd the airwaves and our pulpits with more negative talk? Are we going to do acts of injustice against those who disagreed with our votes? Are we going to switch to bullying on the playground just because we won this round, or are we going to extend an olive branch?
Are we going to do what Micah 6:8 tells us to do? God spoke a long time ago and still speaks. 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?