The Times They Are A-Changin’

July 24, 2018


Today, in Mercy, we pray with a passage from the prophet Micah, the last of three over the past few days of readings. Micah, who composed about 700 years before Christ, is considered a “minor prophet”. We hear from him only these three times in our liturgical readings. Yet, some of the loveliest and most moving lines come from the pen of this country poet.


Micah gave us this gem:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
~ Micah 6:8

He also foretold the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
   though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
   one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
   from ancient times.~ Micah 5:2

Micah was a poor farmer with a rich gift of poetry and grace. In powerful images, he confronted the corporate sinfulness of his times – economic and social injustices institutionalized in the Jerusalem political power structure. He was like a folk singer whose simple words cut to the truth, mourned the sad state of current affairs, and offered lyrical hope to his listeners. Micah teaches us that God’s justice will always prevail. Still, he assures us that this divine justice will be delivered with Mercy.

One can profit from reading Micah prayerfully while considering our current political reality. Like all good poetry, his words still have meaning for us. Our “Jerusalem” may be Washington or Moscow or Beijing. Our “Babylon” maybe economic, environmental, or moral destruction. 

Micah calls us to recognize injustice, especially toward the poor, orphans, and refugees. He enjoins us to mourn the sad reality that surrounds us. And then he encourages us to hope – and act – because God is with us in our vulnerability and will bring us Mercy.

Music: The Times They Are A-Changin’- written by Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, sung here by Bruce Springsteen when Dylan received the Kennedy Honors.( Lyrics below.)

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

2 thoughts on “The Times They Are A-Changin’

  1. Beautiful reflection! Who would have thought when we heard Bob Dylan sing this in the 60’s, it would still be relevant today? I always loved that quote from Micah. It sums up what God expects from us. Simple to remember not always easy to follow. ❤️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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