Oh goodness, what to do with these earthy, descriptive readings from Hosea, Colossians, and Luke? Are you wondering that this morning? Or are you using a different set of readings? Honestly, every time these readings come up I am stretched in new ways. I also cringe as some poor reader has to say circumcision over and over and over. Seriously. Clearly what was once a crucial practice for the sake of "right" religion now just seems completely ludicrous.
Or is it just me?
Actually I do love the potential one can extract from the Hosea reading. So human, so real. So long as one can get past the patriarchal paradigm and derive the real meaning, the text is powerful. Here, from Feasting On the Word, is a some of what I am getting at:
Whatever we decide about Gomer and the figure of the whore, however, notice that we occupy her place in this prophetic narrative. She is the person of the people before God, the typological figure of humanity.Now consider Gomer’s mute passivity in all this.We know nothing about who she was or how she interpreted this experience. That has in part to do with the patriarchal context, but also offers a clue that human experience is not the emotional center here....
God’s experience is .
One could take that perspective for a sermon this week - God's experience of creation, of humanity, reflects a God who is always present, always with us, always yearning for us to turn and return to God, waiting for us to choose to live in faithful relationship with God.
And as if on cue the disciples in the gospel of Luke as Jesus to teach them how to pray. I always think that prayer is how we work at, sustain, and maintain our relationship with God. Again, from Feasting on the Word:
"Today's Gospel invites us to reflect on the story of our prayer life and where it has taken us.."
My prayer life often takes me to the mountains. The place where I feel God's presence and the place where my prayer life began.
Following along the trajectory of Feasting on the Word for the Hosea reading Dorothee Soelle in her essay, "A Different Language, Poetry and Prayer" suggests that "prayer is a language of love." She also suggests that prayer is how we grow in union with God and are able to become the eyes, ears, and mouth of God. Prayer is how the "soul, thus graced learns to make use of 'God's senses.'" (page 201, Essential Writings, edited by Dianne Oliver).
Thus one might find a connection between Hosea and Luke, between the faithfulness of God and God's love for humanity, and our challenges to live into that which God desires.
Or not. There are countless other directions one might take with these readings, including options for other readings this week.
So, what about you? Where are you going with the readings this week? What do you feel called to reflect one and how might you break open the Word?