Archive for the ‘Hosea 6’ Tag

Devotion for the Third Sunday in Lent, Year D (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  The Taking of Christ, by Jacques de l’Ange

Image in the Public Domain

Loving Like Jesus

MARCH 20, 2022


The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Hosea 6:1-11

Psalm 103:1-18

Colossians 2:6-19

John 18:1-14


Looking for Jesus is a theme in the readings from the New Testament.  The germane question is why one seeks him–to control or arrest him, with ultimate lethal intent or to follow him.  One can never control Jesus, of course.  But one can follow him.  Doing so entails repentance–actions, not just words or intentions.  Fortunately, God seems to like repentance.

Aspects of the readings from Hosea 6 and Colossians 2 require unpacking.  Hosea 6:4-11 condemns mistaking sacred rituals for talismans.  The Law of Moses, of which the Book of Hosea is fond, mandates certain rituals, but does not mistake them for talismans.  Obey the Law of Moses, with its moral obligations and keep the rituals, Hosea 6 teaches.  Likewise, there are Hellenistic cultural contextual issues at work in Colossians 2.  May you, O reader, and I never repeat the error of the General Assembly of the old Presbyterian Church in the United States (the “Southern Presbyterian Church”), which approved the following resolution:

There is no warrant for the observance of Christmas and Easter as holy days, but rather the contrary (see Galatians iv. 9-11; Colossians ii. 16-21), and such observance is contrary to the principles of the Reformed faith, conducive to will-worship, and not in harmony with the simplicity of the gospel in Jesus Christ.

The theme of the reading from Colossians 2 is the proper use of Christian liberty.  We are free in Christ to follow him.  The worldly distractions you, O reader, and I may contend with may be quite different from those for the original audience of the Letter to the Colossians.  May we not mistake culturally specific examples of timeless principles for those principles.

Loving one’s neighbor as one loves oneself can get one in deep trouble.  Obeying the moral obligations of divine commandments can be perilous.  Of course, the servant is not greater than the master.










Devotion for Monday and Tuesday After the Third Sunday of Easter, Year B (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment


Above:  F. W.  de Klerk and Nelson Mandela in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1993

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-16052

Renouncing Hatred

APRIL 19 and 20, 2021


The Collect:

Holy and righteous God, you are the author of life,

and you adopt us to be your children.

Fill us with your words of life,

that we may live as witnesses of the resurrection of your Son,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 33


The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 30:1-11a (Monday)

Hosea 5:15-6:6 (Tuesday)

Psalm 150 (Both Days)

1 John 3:10-16 (Monday)

2 John 1-6 (Tuesday)


For this is the message we have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another….Whoever does not love abides in death.  All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them.

–1 John 3:11, 15, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)


But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning–you must walk in it.

–2 John 5-6, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)


If one is truly as one thinks, the logic of 1 John 3 (as well as Jesus in Matthew 5:21 forward) is impeccable.  Actions flow flow from attitudes, after all.  The call from 1 John 3 and 2 John is for Christians to build up each other and to seek the best for each other–to love one another actively.  Such love often entails doing that which the other person needs but does not desire, but the commandment is love one another, not to please one another.

The pericopes from Hosea 5 and Jeremiah 30, taken together, point toward the familiar theological formulation of the failure to keep the covenant as the root cause for the demise of the Kingdoms of Israel (northern) and Judah (southern).  Ritual actions are wonderful when people perform them properly, not as talismans meant to protect them from the consequences of their sinful actions for which they are not repentant.  Idolatry, judicial corruption, and economic exploitation were ubiquitous.  People needed to address those problems first, not attempt to hide behind sacred rituals, which they profaned with their lack of sincerity.

The commandment to love one another–a core component of the Law of Moses–is difficult to keep.  It tells us to lay selfishness aside and to sacrifice ourselves for others.  It stands on the bedrock of complete dependence on God and of mutual dependence among human beings.  There are no self-made people in the Kingdom of God.  The rule of the Kingdom of God is not to tell people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  No, in the Kingdom of God we pull each other up and tend to our own responsibilities, for whatever we do, even in private, affects others for good or for ill.

The difficult commandment to love one another also requires us to cease nursing grudges.  If we cannot forgive someone just yet and know that we should do so, we can rely rely on grace to help us to do that in God’s time.  We are flawed creatures, something God knows well, so moral perfectionism makes no sense to me.  The best good deeds we can muster by our own power call into the Lutheran category of civil righteousness–laudable yet insufficient to save us from our sins.  We ought, therefore, to forgive ourselves for being mere mortals; God has.

I ponder the statement that those who hate are not of God.  Then I consider the numerous incidents of hatred (from ancient times to current events) among people who have claimed to be of God.  In particular I recall the narrative of an African-American slave who escaped (with help from conductors of the Underground Railroad) to freedom in Canada, then British North America.  One of his owners had been a Southern Baptist deacon and a brutal man.  The former slave recalled the fact that this master had died.  Then the free man, a professing Christian, wrote that he did not know whether the deacon had gone to Heaven or to Hell, but that he did not want to share the same destination with this former master.  That sentiment makes sense to me, for the deacon’s actions belied his profession of Christian faith.

A good spiritual practice is to, by grace, seek to identify all hatred one has and to renounce it–give it up, stop feeding it.  If all of it will not depart immediately, at least the process has begun.  In such a case, one should trust God to deal with that which is too great a matter for one.

May more people renounce hatred and its vile fruits then glorify God together.

Let everything that has breath

praise the Lord.


–Psalm 150:6, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)







Twenty-Second Day of Lent   10 comments



Saturday, March 26, 2022

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Hosea 6:1-6 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

[People speaking]:

Come, let us turn back to the LORD:

He attached, and He can heal us;

He wounded, and He can bind us up.

In two days He will make us whole again;

On the third day He will raise us up,

And we shall be whole by His favor.

Let us pursue obedience to the LORD,

And we shall become obedient.

His appearance is as sure as daybreak,

And He will come to us like rain,

Like latter rain that refreshes the earth.

[God speaking]:

What can I do for you, Ephraim,

What can I do for you, Judah,

When your goodness is like morning clouds,

Like dew so early gone?

That is why I have hewn down the prophets,

Have slain them with the words of My mouth:

And the day that dawned [brought on] your punishment.

For I desire goodness, not sacrifice;

Obedience to God, rather than burnt offerings.

Psalm 51:16-21 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

Save me from bloodguilt,

O God, God, my deliverer,

that I may sing forth Your beneficence.

O Lord, open my lips,

and let not my mouth declare Your praise.

You do not want me to bring sacrifices;

You do not desire burnt offerings;

True sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit;

God, You will not despise

a contrite and crushed heart.

May it please You to make Zion prosper;

rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will want sacrifices offered in righteousness,

burnt and whole offerings;

then bulls will be offered on Your altar.

Luke 18:9-14 (The New Testament in the Language of the People):

To some people who were confident that they themselves were upright, but who scorned everybody else, He [Jesus] told the following story:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax-collector.  The Pharisee stood and said this self-centered prayer, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, robbers, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector.  I fast two days in the week, I pay a tithe on everything I get.’ But the tax-collector stood at a distance and would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but continued to beat his breast, and say, ‘O God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man, and not the other, went back home forgiven and accepted by God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

The Collect:

O God, you know us to be st in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


The prophet Hosea channeled divine displeasure with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  Faithlessness would lead to unpleasant consequences, he said.  This day’s reading from that prophet begins with a half-hearted, self-serving plea for deliverance from consequences without expressing remorse for antecedent actions.  The divine response is predictable; God did not accept the plea for deliverance.  The divine standard was goodness and obedience, not ritual sacrifices and self-serving prayers for deliverance.

The reading from Luke is one of Jesus’ more scandalous parables.  Pharisees were part of the religious establishment. As Henry I. Louttit, Jr., formerly the Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia (1967-1994), then Bishop of Georgia (1995-2010), said, the Pharisees were the respectable, church-going people of their time.  Tax collectors collected the income the Roman imperial government required plus extra, and kept the excess.  They were tax thieves, and thus despised widely.  The repentant tax thief is the more sympathetic character in the parable.

Among the recurring thoughts in the Bible is this:  God is no respecter of persons or their social status.  Rather, God sees us as we are.  Sometimes this entails perceiving our potential, and raising us to fill that.  And other times the consequence of  the divine gaze upon one is judgment.  The tax collector had no pretensions about himself.  Thus he went home approved by God.

I propose an individual or group activity related to the reading from Luke.  Ask: If Jesus were telling this parable today, what would he say in lieu of Pharisee?  And what would he say in place of tax collector?  Does this approach to the text bring the meaning of the parable more real to you?  And which character is more like you?  Follow the answers where they lead.


Written on February 28, 2010

Posted October 28, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 26

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