Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.
Perhaps the two greatest, privileged pleasures of our Christian life are atoning for the wrong we have done and forgiving others the wrongs done to us.
That delight comes by our association with God, through our sacramental contact with God. To say that we are connected at the hip to God is not to exaggerate that intimacy.
However, we might not actually feel or experience that thrill of connection except in those moments when we have forgiven others' wrongs or received forgiveness for ours.
The Prophet Micah assures us of God's eager willingness to be in communion with us. He does not persist in anger but delights in clemency. He tramples underfoot our guilt like a comic-strip homeowner who discovers cockroaches in her kitchen when she flips on the lights at midnight. Stomp, stomp, stomp! Or like a boy hurling stones into a pond, God casts our sins into the depths of the sea -- with obvious pleasure.
This thrill of atonement is available to, and can be a regular feature of, family life. The parent who is exasperated with scolding the distracted child over and over for the same careless behavior can embrace and hug the child as often and more so.
The children who quarrel can forget their peevishness and play peaceably together many times a day. In their adult years the stories of ancient spats will provide great wisdom and endless amusement.
If the quarrels are not necessary the atonement is; it is the daily bread of life and its singular satisfaction.
When Jesus calls his disciples to more than discipleship, to be his brothers, sisters and mother he invites us to know that privileged pleasure of God's spirit moving in us.