Ho1-2 The gospel according to Roxanne: God won't share you with another boy. You, you are the subject of God's extreme affection, you, so put away your make up (2v2), etc. .. v3 Jezreel conceived with Hosea, v6 NoMercy conceived without. What would a spiritual paternity test reveal in your life and your children's lives? .. (via JHT's Union and Communion) Song of Songs allegorically calls for unbroken communion with God, our lover, our husband. Now we consider the literal/figurative children precipitated by that literal/figurative sexual intimacy. If it is not a syllogism too far, I suggest that there is a relationship between a flimsy theology of sex and a failure to to consider generational Christianity. Dawson Trotman, in Born to Reproduce, on unfruitfulness points to disease, immaturity or disintimacy as causes of a failure to conceive spiritual children. Perhaps for many of us Gomers our primary evangelistic contraceptive is that we are sleeping with the wrong God. v16 and calling that which is Baal, 'God' – as Hebrew had fused 'Baal' with 'husband' at this time. .. So, new names, new birth, new mercies for NoMercy 2v1 v16 v23 – As for you, you and your former ascriptions are washed. In Christ, you are good, beautiful and competant. In Christ we are blameless and beloved brides in white Dn12v10 Rv3v4. In Christ. By faith. Lucky we? So share. .. ps. Briefly Eisenstein's gift economy in 2v8 is contrasted with the market in 2v5. Did you not know? Everything in the market economy was first taken from the gift economy. So share.
Ho3-4 Ho3-4 4v5 Israel here is also represented as the mother. Familiar with thinking about God as father&mother, God as husband, this asks us to think of God as child and we as mother. Whilst we are in Christ, Christ is in us, the hope of Glory. We might Acts17v28 in Christ as a child in God's womb, but as Jn15 we are abide in God, God abides in us, like a child in our womb. God trusts us to give birth to Christ in the world, to hold & contain the work of the holy spirit, to nurture, steward & protect all that is within Him. & as such we can be good-enough Marys Lk1v26-56 or not so good, just as we can be faithful or faithless wives of God. Just as it is good to remember that our quick and easy idolatry is experienced by God as the unthinkable agony of a cheating spouse, so we might think more immediately, bodily & fully if we treated our relationship with God as though a child - in need of constant care, but where over-protection is a vice, the aim is growth towards greater capacity to risk. Fierce maternal love that requires attunement, awareness and eye-contact. Face to face with this wide-eye God. We all want to be good parents, just as we all want to be married not prostitutes - Jesus, remind us of how these remind us of you. Thank you for mothering us under your wings and thank you for pursuing us in ridiculous erotic love, 3v2 buying us back & v4 dwelling with us when we didn't deserve it. Teach us such a love in return.
Ho5-6 v1 Tabor, esvsb informs us, is traditionally the site of the transfiguration. Timely that this should be our reading today. Our high points become our snare, exactly as Peter in Mk9v5 hopes to stay there. But you are filled to be poured out, you are called to Speak, so you should be given to giving yourself away. 6v1-2 Praying to be broken by the God who breaks us in Hope, our great surgeon. It is God who Rm8v20 subjects nature to futility (in Hope), and it is God who Rm8v11 will resurrect us. He will. He daily does. So 5v15 seek his face, so, 6v3 press on to know him. Then come down the mountain, don't 6v9 band together committees of good intentions, but rather go out, go down, to the mess below. Because God does, his going out is as sure as the dawn. He goes with us into our Monday.
Ho7-8 of 7's four analogies for our sin, each offer a way into repentance and stepping into alignment with God so as to face the important things of the day, to pray, seek & speak with heart in the right place. v4-7 where one's heart is like an oven, it reminds me of Sartrean nausea, of pacing round the kitchen, of not being able to escape. Let us trust again in the cross of Is53, that Jesus has become our escape, we do not need to smoulder here, really. v8-10 of being a half-baked cake, of being Rev3v16 lukewarm. I feel half-baked, unpalatable, confessing God with my mouth but far in my heart. Pray again that God would break me, fully bake me. v11 of being a silly dove...and uninnocent as snakes, rather than the other way round. This Matt10v16 I am praying over today, for my heart & yours, and ones we love. Jesus keep us wise, intentional, clever...but so gentle, and so not v16 a treacherous bow, haphazard, irresponsible & hurtful. Transform us, giving us your Eph6 sword of the spirit. Bewaring our idols of 8, we remember again that Ps127v1 unless the Lord builds the house we will labour in vain. God watches over the city, the household, and as such we pray for v14 God's holy fire throughout this place, burning up strongholds, destroying what is malignant, refining what is good. Come Holy Spirit.
Ho9-10 God does not leave us on trains, we are not phones that he should forget us on a train Is49v15. Rather, we are wayward brides and faithless tribes of our own accord - v3 returning to Egypt, v10 back to Baal. Consider God's first choosing, that phone from amongst them all in the shop. So God-loves-you-but-I'm-his-favourite, as first fruits Jm1v18, as with first love Rev2v4, like grapes in the desert v10, such is the exclusive and excited bridal language of God's singular and incomparable affection for us and devastation at our fickle flights. .. v10 'detestable like the things they loved' - so as we behold we become. Oh choose the right sights, and worship well. Oh guard your hearts and eyes. And make Piprian war right here Rm8v13, and fight for joy in right worship, right association and right imitation. .. Interesting that the consequence of worship is followed by a verse on inconception. We worship a childless deity, a radically individualised market economy, a sterile modernist hygiene, an asexual monistic God, or other, and so make ourselves so? Of v11 I am still waiting for a good theology of contraception. This verse does it no favours. .. Then Ho10 - the promised land of England. Such is our vine, even in recession, luxuriant. And so do our altars multiply? The mysterious power of affluence, to take us away from the very source of our wealth. But we shall be as a Pooh sticks v7, swept over the falls, reaping what we have sown. v12 v13 What have I sown? .. Returning at a jump to my parabolic phone, Hosea happened today, miraculously in the purgatory of Waterloo's basement. So I was able to buy her back and for more than she was worth. How much more is God good, who seeks us out, and buys us back, we, who deserve it less than my Nokia C3 (Ho13v14).
Ho11-12 11v1-4 God the mother, God the father, who teaches us to walk, who holds us to her cheek. Ways God loves us – God loves us like a parent loves a rebellious child. You can be angry with ones you love, you can love them despite themselves. And God loves us like this. But this is not the only way God loves us: v9 gnb God says 'I will not come to you in anger'. In Christ God loves us as a friend, and God is not angry with us. I sometimes live under this picture that God remains angry with us, that we are somehow able to protect ourselves from this anger with Jesus' blood like a shield, hiding ourselves from an anger that remains ablaze, and hiding ourselves from God the mother father in process. This is not how it goes. God is not angry, her anger is quieted. Her face is turned towards us and we can come close, our relationship fully restored through Jesus. So we do not need to keep asking for forgiveness for the same things over and over. God is no longer angry and we can come close. God WANTS to be close to us, God does not just love us through gritted teeth. v8 Somehow, mysteriously, we captivate this God and he cannot give us up. God likes us as well as loving us, God wants to spend time with us. It took me two years between tattoos to know it so. And I quickly forget. As beloved of God, he likes me. v8 his love is so strong! And we are, I am, still ever falling into sin 12v1, but God is ever always already making us whole again, and it is from this place that we can be v3-4 Jacobs wrestling, making violence on our own violence. Not from our own striving, not as a self-righteous attempt at self-regulation for its own sake, but from a place of already-saved already-whole longing for more of God's love of God. We are Jacobs wrestling & Jacobs blessed.
Ho13-14 v4 Besides God, there is no saviour. v14 In this saving, death has lost its sting. 14v9. So, (speaking to individual where largely Hosea addresses the collective) so, individual, you, what are you going to do about this? You are saved from every kind of dying and fear thereof, by the one way that this is possible. What now? What is wise now? So help me God, help me to help, help me God to receive and use and enjoy and so proliferate this singular salvation. And for this, teach us 14v2 words to take, that we too might 14v4 love freely.