August 2, 2010

Monday Mini-Sermon

Hosea lived during a time of chaos and upheaval: the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) had just split, Egypt and Assyria were bearing down and God's people were backsliding, following other gods and breaking commandments left and right.  God and Hosea agreed - this was no time for a soft-spoken call to confession. ...

Israel, Hosea cries, has forgotten her story.  It's been too long since she's opened up the family photo album, lingering over those tiny ink footprints, touching the fine locks of hair that fell to the floor after the first haircut.  It's been too long since she's remembered who she really is.  ...

So God set up the projector, dims the lights, and through Hosea begins to narrate the sequence of images:  "I remember the day you were born, the groaning and the aching and the crying out.  I remember the Red Sea water breaking; I remember the pangs of labor, as if the whole world was going to rip apart, but then I caught you in my arms and I fell madly in love.  I taught you how to walk.  I picked you up when you fell, pressed your cheek against mine.  When you cried out, I let down food for you. Like a mother bird I fed you; like a good physician I healed you. Don't you remember?"

- Elizabeth Myer Boulton on Hosea 11:1-11
Living by The Word,  
in Christian Century July 27, 2010