“I took them up in my arms” is the line that captures the theme for this coming week. Do you remember the line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “I must be cruel, only to be kind”? Have you experienced a similar situation when giving your young child medicine, battling to cram it down his or her throat to treat an infection? The scripture passage for this week paints the image of God as a loving parent who cares and loves human beings with tough love. We see Hosea pleading the case of the parent God who has patiently loved the people of Israel only to be ignored and rejected. This scripture brings to mind a father whose daughter continually rejected his patient and loving counsel about her self-destructive behavior. He financed a rehab residency treatment and even provided an allowance, only to discover she had used the cash to purchase alcohol. Nevertheless, the father persisted with compassion and hope that his daughter would turn from her destructive ways.
Similarly, we as children of God continue to turn away from God when we make choices that separate us from God. The reading from Hosea invites us to reflect on ways we consistently ignore God as a loving parent. Have we taken time to simply sit still for fifteen minutes and talk to God in solitude?
May Hosea’s words guide us toward God our parent. May we find strength and grace to be bound by God’s cords of human kindness and bands of love.
All-loving God, we thank you for your love without limits. Forgive our bent to turn away from you. Give us courage to hear your call and respond to your love. We ask this in your Son’s name. Amen.