Sunday, June 14th

The Book of Hosea: “A Parable of Love for God’s People”
Readings: Hosea 4:1-3, 6; 5:13-15; 6:1-3, 6-7 and Mark 1:21-34

Reflection Questions

  1. Before reading our Scripture passages, open to God in prayer. You might want to make the Psalmist’s words your prayer for our new season of Ordinary time as we listen to the voice of God through the Minor Prophets. Keep in mind our “theme” for the season as you pray: Illuminating the past with – The light of the Present for – A guide into the Future

    I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that You have done;
    I ponder the work of Your hands.
    I stretch out my hands to You;
    My soul thirsts for You like a parched land.

    Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love,
    For in You I trust.
    Make me know the way I should go,
    For to You I lift up my soul.

    Psalm 143:5-6, 8

    1. Eugene Peterson, in his comments about the book of Hosea, calls Hosea, the man, a living parable. God has invited Hosea, as his servant, to live out loud, to be a human billboard or motion picture film playing out the kind of love God has for his people and showing how God’s people have responded to his generous love. Hosea is a “parable of love to God’s people.”Put yourself into Hosea’s shoes. Or, put yourself into God’s shoes as you read Hosea 4:1-3, 6; 5:13-15; 6:1-3, 6-7 (if you have time, read the entire 3 chapters). What do you hear? How do the revelations, insights, and words of God impact you? How do these words and the emotions behind them make you feel? Spend some time in reflection as you read, listen, observe.
    1. What comes up in your own heart and mind as you hear God’s words? Is there any need of confession? Is there anything you’d like to explore more deeply as you look at your own heart and life? Take time to pray, inviting God into what you’ve noticed about yourself, your life. Make known your intentions, desires, areas of struggles. Invite God’s Spirit to help you explore areas that might need to change.
    1. Narrow your focus on Hosea 6:1-3, 6-7. Spend some moments thoughtfully re-reading this passage. Read, along with Hosea 6, the Gospel account in Mark 1:21-34. The invitation of Hosea is “come…”Mark tells us that an entire city came out to meet Jesus to experience the dynamic of his healing power. The Lord Jesus is merciful and willing to heal our wounds, our diseases, our emotional and spiritual weaknesses. Come… Take some more moments seeking and acknowledging God to receive from him restorative love and compassionate healing for whatever ails your soul.

Trinity Sunday: Marks Of A Resurrected-Shaped Community

We consume but don't savor.

Resurrected-Shaped Community
1. One heart and one soul
2. Generosity in the midst of scarcity
3. Courage in the midst of adversity

Uniformity versus Unity

The first ingredient for unity is humility.

What we are missing in the church and why we are not drastically different is that we have a whole lot of uniformity but very little unity.

The power of small means a lot.

Following Jesus

“Following Jesus” can seem so mysterious and ethereal that we don’t know where to start, what to do or to who we should do it. Many of you know my theological debt to the work of Bishop Tom Wright. In several places he has written or said something like this:

“We are not to repeat what Jesus did but to implement his achievement.”

That quote helps a great deal to have an imagination for what it means to “follow Jesus” when we cannot die for the sins of the world. But it may raise a further question: just what was Jesus’ achievement? What were his aims? For purposes of this short blog we could start with these thoughts:

  • Jesus reconstituted the people of God (now the Gentiles are included!) around him and his preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. So the follow Jesus means in part to become one his people and work with him to reveal the power and ultimate goodness of the kingdom of God…
  • Jesus called people to follow him as a way of learning to be God’s cooperative friends to announce, embody and demonstrate the kingdom of God in their everyday lives…such a life brings the goodness of Jesus’ triumph to the sin-confused, painful and unjust elements of the world…
  • God then enabled follower-ship of Jesus by sending the power of the Holy Spirit to the church. This love and power impart capacity (gifts), transformation (fruit) and “sentness” (think of the sending passages in Luke 9 and 10; 24.49; John 20, etc.) that animates the one who chooses to follow Jesus for the sake of others, for the sake of carrying out his once and for all achievement on the cross to forgive, deliver, heal and make new.

There, at least, is a first step or two forward in following Jesus.

Pentecost: It Is Better For You That I Go Away

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not an idea, it is something you know. It is something you actually experience.