The Common Good

From the Mountaintop: A Closing Liturgy from the Wild Goose Festival

Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.
Lisa Sharon Harper leads the closing liturgy at the Wild Goose Festival. Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

Over the last three days, we have been on a journey. We have listened to awesome music, taken in deep thoughts, participated in talking circles, and we have engaged our bodies, minds and spirits in creative actions that gave us glimpses of a world where justice rolls down and with it relationships are restored and our world is made right again!

Now, as our journey comes to a close I’d like to read one of my favorite passages from the book of Micah:
 
In days to come
 the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
 and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it, 
 and many nations shall come and say:
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
 to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
 and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
 and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples,
 and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
 and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
 neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
 and no one shall make them afraid;
 for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 

Over the last few days we have sat on such a mountain! We have listened to many of the modern-day prophets of our times. They have pointed the way toward justice and restoration. We have prayed together and moved our bodies together and exercised the discipline of silence together in order to get a glimpse at God’s kind of justice. In more ways than one, we have had a mountaintop experience, but most of us don’t live on mountaintops. We live back down in the valleys, in cities and town, in the commotion of life and work and love.

And so, it is necessary that we take time while on the mountaintop to reflect on all that God has given us in this special place. To imagine the implications of these truths, these questions, these stories on how we will live our lives.

So, in response to the Word and to our journey let us now acknowledge what God has done over these three days.
 

  • Dear God, you promised us there will come a day when justice and peace kiss. We thank you for that promise Lord. We hold you to that promise, Lord.
  • Yes, Lord. Have your way.
  • Dear God, you have shown us the way to a more just world. We understand that justice requires more than punishment. In fact, punishment alone is an easy way out. Your kind of justice goes deeper. It requires the restoration of relationships.
  • Yes, Lord. Have your way.
  • Dear God, you have focused our attention on the American penal system — a place that claims to be where justice reigns. But you have shown us that our retributive system is not enough to achieve your kind of peace. We call on you to bring your kind of peace to America’s prison system! Repair the broken relationships that each prisoner represents. Repair the broken system that targets certain communities more than others. Repair the broken lives and spirits, crushed under the weight of retribution, with no hope of restoration.
  • Yes, Lord. Have your way.
  • Dear God, you have focused our attention on our broken immigration system. A system that deported more people and split more families in the past three years than ever before. But you have shown us that our retributive immigration system is not enough to achieve your kind of peace. We call on you to bring your kind of peace to America’s immigration system! Repair the broken relationships that each deported human being represents. Re-form the broken state-based systems that have legalized racial profiling and intentionally crafted laws that would scream “You are not welcome!” to the immigrants among us. Turn the hearts of those who have been corrupted by the lie that retribution through deportation will bring peace. And Repair the spirits of those crushed under the weight of retribution
  • Yes, Lord. Have your way.
  • And, Dear God, you have focused our attention on the broken way we and other nations have related to the global community. Our nation has used violence before all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. Our nation has believed the myth that Americans are above international law and in the process we have undermined laws put in place to protect “the least of these”. But you have shown us that retribution and violence can only beget violence. They cannot achieve your kind of peace. We call on you to bring your kind of peace to our global community! Repair the broken relationships between nations. Raise up leaders who understand that the interests of the smallest nations are actually the interests of all. . And Repair the spirits of those crushed under the weight of retribution and violence between and within nations.
  • Yes, Lord. Have your way.

Now, Dear God, Please examine my own heart. Whisper to me about how I can become a person who works toward restorative justice in my own life and heart. God in this silent moment, please finish one of these sentences for me:

  • I will commit to…
  • I forgive…
  • I ask for forgiveness from…

(Silence)
Amen.

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