Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. - Joel 2:12-13
…After which, he dropped the mic.
This phrase has worked its way into contemporary conversation to symbolize the dramatic flourish that ends some sort of conflict. The person will make some witty comment to shut things down and then…drop the mic and walk away.
Today’s mic drop feels, to me, like the Bible’s rending of garments. You rip your clothes wide open when you’re ready to walk away from the fight and take cover elsewhere.
A mic drop feels good. Smartphones are encoded with emojis to symbolize this release.
Our text calls on us to “rend your hearts and not your clothing.” Maybe the rent clothes and the mic drops don’t quite invite the transformation Joel thinks necessary. Maybe we need to:
stick with the difficulty a moment longer,
open up our hearts a bit before we walk away.
Recently, our church focused on the theme: commit. We committed to being seen. We committed to liberation. And we committed to the journey.
The Lenten journey means lingering, walking with folks for a while before we try to drop the mic. The journey with God means a journey towards God, and that can’t ignore God’s flawed people—including ourselves.
Walk a little longer. Listen a little more intently. Pray a whole lot more. Open your heart just a bit wider and watch just what the gracious, merciful, slow-to-anger God can do—garments intact, mic in hand, ready to speak, even still.
I’m here for the journey, o Lord, my God.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.