Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Sunday, February 26, 2006

In the Face of God: Biblical Commentary on Hosea 6:11b-7:16 with Poem by J. R. Perkins, The Back of God

Daily Readings
Job 16:1-17:2 Exodus 4 Hosea 6:11b-7:16 Song of Solomon 8

Daily Text: Hosea 6:11b-7:16

In the Face of God
The sermon found in Hosea 6:11b-7:16 is filled with images and illustrations. The major ones are of the baker and his fire, the half-baked cake, the inevitable results of chaos, the silly dove and God’s memory. Two of the images, the inevitable results of chaos and God’s memory will be explored here.

Israel’s corruption is so flagrant that safety has disappeared as an expectation of life. The people, especially the rulers, act as thieves from within the government and the nation, while the people are continually attacked by bandits who steal, rape and presumably burn almost at will. This chaos reveals the falsity of Ephraim’s life, of Israel’s failure to serve her God with integrity. They do not even see their own fault, strange as that may seem, but God does.

In the matter of God’s memory is one of the most striking images in the prophecy of Hosea. It is an accepted point of theology that no one can see the face of God and live. There have been a few exceptions, all noteworthy ones, Abraham, Moses, etc. So even though corrupted Israel may not see the face of God, her misdeeds live before the face of God! Because he loves them he sees their most terrible repudiations of God’s self continually. The implication is that the very matters that God cannot abide are the ones brought forcibly home in his presence. In Christian theology it took the substitutionary atonement of God in Christ to remove these abominations from before him.

The Back of God
J. R. Perkins
I prayed to see the face of God,
Illumined by the central suns
Turning in their ancient track;
But what I saw was not His face at all—
I saw His bent figure on a windy hill,
Carrying a double load upon His back.

Collect for the Day
Ever-loving God, who came into the world clothed in our garment of flesh and who willingly gave yourself to the cross, clothe us in you own Spirit, that persons will recognize you in us and receive your great gift of love. In the name of Jesus, your greatest gift. Amen. [479:47]


Anonymous Martin Tolhoek said...

Good evening Father James,

Just a quick note and "thank you" for giving me access to your web-
Your commentary is indeed helpful and I intend to access it again if some of the profits' comments seem hard to understand/ interpret.
Looking forward to seeing you this coming Wednesday around the noon hour. Please remember the March schedule for the lectionary.

Martin Tolhoek

7:26 PM  

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