Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being there my whole life through.
Reading: Hosea 11:1-11 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: It’s become one of my favorite hymns: I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry (ELW 732). It’s a poem about God’s presence in our lives no matter what. The end of verse 1 goes like this:
I was there when you were but a child, with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off to find where demons dwell.
That is what Hosea reflects in today’s reading. How God nurtures and heals. I particularly like the image of verse 4, “I bent down to them and fed them.” We are taught at Camp, to stoop to the child’s level so they can see us eye-to-eye and put ourselves on their level. I works!
Back to our story--Yet we want to wander away. There is a time in the Amish community, between adulthood and commitment to the Order when young Amish are somewhat free of parental control. They call it Rumspringa which translate “running around.” Or maybe wandering off. And getting into trouble, testing the faith. I don’t know about you but I’ve had my Rumspringas. And still do. Moments of wondering and wandering. Testing the faith. Checking out where the demons dwell. Perhaps trying some things out.
God through Hosea agonizes over Israel and you and me. Yet, God’s compassion grows warm and tender, even in God’s anguish. And so our hymn ends, after all our wanderings, running arounds,
When the evening gently closes in and you shut your weary eyes,
I’ll be there as I have always been, with just one more surprise.
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