My husband served in the navy for many years. After a deployment, the families would gather at the pier to welcome the ship and the sailors home. If the sailor for whom you waited was unavailable, you would go to a holding area to wait for release to visit the ship. My husband worked as an engineer and was often long delayed in coming to claim his family from holding. How long that time seemed to drag as I waited to be reunited and “redeemed” from holding. By the time my husband arrived I was extremely glad to see him and to be free!
The redeemed know what captivity feels like. They understand the waiting, hoping, praying for someone to come and free them. They have lived the overwhelming joy of having a deep hunger or thirst satisfied. Their depth of gratitude and thanksgiving has transformed them. People reside in captivity to all kinds of things: drugs, prison, abuse, cultural limitations, poverty, prejudice, traditions, and more. Freedom from such bondage—true redemption—is life changing.
These verses open and close with praise for God’s steadfast love that redeems. As Christians we have been redeemed through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We sometimes forget that we too have been held captive in some way and have forgotten the joy we felt in our redemption. We begin to view freedom as a right not a gift. Perhaps that becomes a form of bondage in itself: forgetting that we have been blessed with freedom from bondage and are a means of grace for others. That mission relieves us of the burden of judgment and condemnation of others.
God, redeem us from those things that hold us captive. Help us to find freedom in your reign. In our freedom, may we never forget how blessed we are. We have much to celebrate; help us to be gracious and joyful always. Amen.
The Hosea passage portrays the agony of God, who is torn between the demands of judgment and of grace. When justice and grace are weighed in God’s balances, grace always prevails. Psalm 107’s language applies to many experiences of alienation. Lostness, hunger, thirst, and weariness characterize the condition of those cut off from God; yet if they seem abandoned, they are not. God has guided them out of the desert and back to their homes once again. The freedom to live in goodness is the subject of Colossians. The passage points read- ers beyond “things that are on earth” to “things that are above.” Freedom from greed is the focus of Luke 12:13-21, a text that addresses the dif cult issue of how the Christian is to deny the temptations of materialism while living in a very material world. The farmer is not condemned because he worked to produce a bumper crop, but his demise is viewed as tragic because he wrongly believed that his bulging barns would be his salvation.
• Read Hosea 11:1-11. God’s constant love, mercy, and grace allow for transformation. What would it be like if our sys- tems employed a justice designed to transform?
• Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. From what captivity has God redeemed you?
• Read Colossians 3:1-11. What do you need to take away from your life in order to clothe yourself with the practices that re ect the image of God?
• Read Luke 12:13-21. How can you feel more satis ed with what you have? How will this allow you to share more with others?
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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