As people who believe that all things are being made new, we can recognize—even in the brokenness of failure and in the hurt of people with whom we will never be able to reconcile—that we are not trapped in the worst things we have done. We can be better and are being made whole moment by moment. Reconciliation is in that hope of transformation.
Are we the worst thing we have ever done? Are we lost in the moments of our greatest sin? For some people, the answer isn’t theoretical. We label them by their sin. To our society they will never be more or less than that moment. We cage them and try to retain that moment of guilt, spreading out one instant over decades and reducing a human being to a single act. Our labels strip their humanity and freeze them in time. In our devotion to a false justice and captivity to a false philosophy, we prevent them—and ourselves—from ever seeing reconciliation.
This endless existence in a point in time is diametrically opposed to the work of new creation. What is justice or reconciliation without growth, newness, and the transformation of not just the person but of the society that birthed them? The principalities and powers are terrified that we will truly believe and live into the truth that God “forgave all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.” To maintain power they perpetuate a system where the small gods of our world command our loyalties, and the brutalizing overseer of systemic racism separates us from our siblings in Christ.If only we could see the holy in the mundane, then we might see the face of God in our neighbor.
Dear God, help me see that we would stand in a garden of abundance if only our clenched fists were open hands. Amen.
Hosea can be a difficult book with troublesome metaphors. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life, in your relationships with the wider community, or in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How can you help make the community more just?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
Respond by posting a prayer.
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