Broken relationships affect all those around us, but God holds out the divine possibility of healing that brokenness. Relationships can be mended, intimacy restored. “The number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’”
The parable Jesus tells years later of the son who leaves his father’s house and squanders his inheritance echoes Hosea’s lived-out parable. Upon the young man’s return, he does not count on the intimacy he knew as son. But his father welcomes him back into the family with an intimate embrace. (See Luke 15:11-32.)
In Jesus’ parable the elder brother resents the sinner’s welcome and embrace. We too may believe that some people lie beyond God’s intimate embrace that offers healing and wholeness. We may believe, like the elder brother, that the sinner does not deserve mercy and grace. But through Hosea’s life, through Jesus’ love, God shows us that nothing lies outside the scope of God’s redemptive love.
Like the prodigal son, we may feel unworthy of restoration to that place of intimacy. But God is calling us, like God called the people of Israel through Hosea, to return to that place of intimacy. God never gives up on us but will embrace us each time we fail and will work with us to rebuild what was broken.
Sin has consequences, some far-reaching, but not as far-reaching as God’s redemptive love. We cannot escape the consequences of our actions; but when we open ourselves to God’s redemptive love, the result may surprise us.

Thank you, merciful God, for your unfailing, redemptive love that heals and restores. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 11:1-13

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Lectionary Week
July 18–24, 2016
Scripture Overview

The Hosea passage implies that the rela- tionship between God and Israel is similar to a marriage that has been ruined by an unfaithful spouse. Yahweh has been scorned, and judgment is at hand. However, the prophet implants a reminder that Yahweh’s nal word is not destruction but redemption. Psalm 85 reveals a community of God’s people who are suspended between the “already” and the “not yet.” Colossians reminds the readers that no other force or personality may compete with Christ, for Christ and only Christ embodies “the whole fullness of deity.” Faith and action are one. Luke’s Gospel directs the disciples’ attention to their real needs, as well as reminding them of the only one who can ful ll those needs.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Hosea 1:2-10. Do you truly believe that nothing is beyond God’s redemptive love? How does that affect the way you live?
• Read Psalm 85. How do you respond to God’s forgiving, redemptive love? When have you experienced the healing and wholeness of that love?
• Read Colossians 2:6-19. How is your life rooted and estab- lished in Christ? What lls your life?
• Read Luke 11:1-13. How much do you trust God to provide for all you really need?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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