Zechariah promises a humble king to come, making his entrance on the back of a the colt of a donkey. This is an unlikely king who comes to rule with the full strength of God’s peace. Make no doubt, it’s overpowering, but in God’s way, not the way of human empires.
In his use of the Hebrew Scriptures to point to his role as God’s Messiah, Jesus probably would have used Micah’s prophecy. Micah, like the other prophets, promises one who is to come who will not rule through militaristic adventures and war mongering. He promises one to come who will be Savior, who will reign with peace and offer a new way to salvation.
There’s power in memory. Mark uses the power of memory in the opening of his Gospel to frame the coming of Christ through the remembrance of God’s saving acts in the history of Israel. Though not all memories are uplifting, the beauty of Advent is the promise that God sends Christ to offer healing and peace into the brokenness and strife.
In this midst of a continuing pandemic, and amidst the varying hardships overwhelming our nation, you make ask of God, what do you want of us? How can we see your divine healing in this land? Micah offers guidance in just such a situation – so listen to the Lord. The answer is living with God, and living for others. Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
The Biblical text never promises wealth and prosperity to the faithful. What it does promise, is peace, well-being, and unity among the gathered faithful. The English translation fails us when it replaces God’s vision of shalom, with our worldly visions of extravagant wealth.
In times of hardship, despair, and trials on the journey of faithfulness, we may wonder, God, what do you want from us?! We are not the first to ask such a question, nor are we the first to receive such an answer: act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
The Grinch saw the Whos down in Who-Ville decorating, singing, and cooking, but thought their merriment was a sham. Perhaps we should question our own nonsensical over-indulgence in the season.
In a week where hope seemed hard to find, and the prophet bemoans the worship of God’s people, it is God’s “but” that indicates the promise of God’s justice.
The story of Samuel going behind Saul to anoint David is not simply a call to follow God’s will into dangerous places against un-faithful kings, but should also be understood as God’s call to seek leadership in the left out and unexpected.
We sit in wonder of the same things as the people of Israel who were scattered in exile: for truly as a people – as a nation and as a community – we are broken and we are yearning for a new promise of hope.