Pentecost +9 - Year C
If you were to look at your family, congregation, community, nation, world - to what image would you compare them that would identify a blockage keeping them from where they might be, were that not present? For Hosea it was a distraction of where their eye landed without their even being aware of it. G*D called everything that wasn't focused on G*D, whores. A convenient digital response of all or nothing.
We do have problems with sexuality in general. Some later interpreters of Gomer denied she was promiscuous before or during her marriage with Hosea. The New Interpreter's Dictionary notes, "Augustine argued that she abandoned her life of harlotry before her marriage; Jerome claimed that her marriage to Hosea remade her "chaste." Luther stated that she was a pure woman who only took on the name of "harlot" as a metaphor."
Regarding their daughter, Lo-ruhamah or No-Mercy, The Message reveals this as a reality of G*D, "I've run out of mercy." In G*D's image, we all run out of mercy. What happens then? Can mercy be transferrable - when one runs out of mercy another can re-infuse them with it? Can we be merciful until mercy returns to G*D?
Well, there is a whole story to go, but for now we need to hear Jesus re-telling Hosea's story right after his teaching of prayer. Is the giving of forgiveness directly tied to the reception of such? If G*D holds back mercy, will mercy be learned?
Again, what image would you use to compare the various parts of your life, given that they could be so much more were it not for that particular impediment? Is whoredom or idolatry still the way to talk about the self-imposed limits? What other options are open to you? As we image our response, we are given a glimpse into where our call might be.