God’s open door
Hosea 14 (NRSVA)
1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
‘Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
and we will offer
the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, “Our God”,
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.’
4 I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily,
he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.
6 His shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
7 They shall again live beneath my shadow,
they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.
9 Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
Here is a message of hope in the week following Easter. It’s a reminder to us of God’s ever open door. His ever open internet connection, his willingness to listen to our inner struggles and our promises of seeking a better life not just for ourselves but for everyone on the planet.
In a time like this we all realise that what matters is not the kind of car we drive or the style of clothes we wear. What really matters is how we keep others and ourselves safe from corona virus. When we start reflecting at this level we perhaps begin to see how shallow many of our lives have been. We see our own selfish gene popping up trying to dictate to that which we know is the right thing to do. This passage invites us to name and shame our selfishness and to return to God and seek his mercy.
Back in the garden again
Your grace is overwhelming
You invite us back home
Back into the garden
And you offer us the best room in the house
There is not a trace of anger in your voice
No strings attached
Indeed you make it plain
You expect us to stay
You point to a large clump of trees
And you tell us
Our future will outlive the oaks
You tell us we are the children
Who never grow old playing in your garden
Enjoying the fragrance of the cedars
We returned, broken and wounded children
And you have restored our souls
Healed our wounds.
Playing in your garden
Has changed everything