Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Ancient Egyptian art. Image in the public domain

Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
Micah 1:8

Prophets are called on to be the bearers of bad news, to confront poor behaviour, expose rackets, call out false piety and generally get people to face their own selfishness and self-centredness, that different choices might be made. Hope is usually included in the message, alongside condemnation and judgment, but it is always conditional. Bearing bad news to entire communities, even nations must be hugely burdensome, and such weight of responsibility, mixed with fear of the possible responses will no doubt greatly arouse the emotions of the prophet. It is little doubt then that Micha, on predicting the coming of the Lord, in judgment against Samaria and Jerusalem, is on the edge of tears, a cry in his throat and his whole body on edge. When something matters we experience it everywhere. There can be no dispassion.

When I hear my children wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls I can get annoyed at the noise. I forget that a child feels everything a hundred times more sharply than a rational adult. Children, tired, hungry and all played out are tangled messes of emotion. Small things trigger big responses. Usually, on reflection, I deeply appreciate their wild passions, and marvel at their ability to feel so strongly, but in the moment, not so much.

"Many who have rejected a Christian's logic have been won by his tears."1

We are taught to control our emotions, and indeed this is valuable advice for life in community, but it is not without loss. Our tears speak louder than our words, and to hide them is to hide our own voice. To prevent them in others is a form of oppression. Big boys don't cry. Yes, they do, and deep inside if you don't allow it to express. Our tears are an essential part of our nature, our rivers of salt carrying volumes of words and emotions from deep within, to mingle with the world's discourse.

Micah the prophet was a man of great passion. Perhaps prophets are the ones who never quite grow up, never get fully domesticated by the system, retain their awe and wonder. We need such people today, to dwell alongside the logicians, the fact-producers, the ones who can explain and justify everything. We need, perhaps, a few more tears.

1 James Montgomery Boice