*exegetical note: I wrote a paper on the beginning of Hosea in the ancient Hebrew back in the day, and from what I found, “whoredom” is actually an incorrect translation. The word implies that she was indeed with many partners but not being paid for it. I think that changes the implications. I would be interested in hearing how that changes your reading.*
CALL TO WORSHIP
One: We come today seeking the Lord.
All: We knock at the door hoping for a return to wholeness.
One: We come full of sorrow for our unfaithfulness,
All: and we are eager to be strengthened with the growth that comes from God.
One: Let us lift up our voices in praise.
All: Let us be ever more faithful to the restoring God in our midst.
Holy One, we are reminded today of how imperfect we can be and of how much we rely on you. We also hear, though, about how much you love us and how fully you want to be in relationship with us. Help us better understand what our part is in this relationship. Help us better understand you. May we be revived again in faithfulness to you. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Hosea got married into brokenness in order to demonstrate how unfaithful God’s people had been. May we today hopefully preempt needing such a drastic prompting and come clean about our own unfaithfulness.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O Lord our God, we come to you knowing just how imperfect we are. We are unfaithful and usually walking away. We don’t understand what it means to walk your path and live into your righteousness needed all around us. We yearn for the days when steadfast love and faithfulness meet, and when righteousness and peace will kiss each other. We pray for the day when faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. Forgive us, gracious God, please. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Christ taught us to pray “forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.” We call upon the Lord, and we are heard. We ask, and we somehow receive. I declare to you today that in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, your sins are forgiven. Alleluia. Amen. Now go forth and forgive those indebted to you.
CALL FOR THE OFFERING
On a daily basis most of us are given much more than just the bread that we need. Out of this abundance let us give back what was never ours to begin with.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Holy God, take what we have brought before you – of our hands and ourselves – and turn them into doers of your will, signs of your faithfulness, and fulfillers of your righteousness. Amen.
INVITATION TO THE TABLE
The table before us is a simple one. The meal is not gourmet or even fancy. It seems what is needed simply to sustain. Yet it is so much more. Come and be filled, all of you wonderful parts of creation. Come and experience fullness and wholeness that only Christ can provide. Come.