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, March 05, 2006

Penitential Liturgy: Bible Commentary on Hosea 14 with poem by Coventry Patmore, The Toys

Daily Readings
Job 23 Exodus 10:28-11:10 Hosea 14 II Thessalonians 2

Daily Text: Hosea 14

Penitential Liturgy
Hosea 14 is considered a penitential liturgy. Was it used as a way to encapsulate all of Hosea’s prophecy? It certainly touches on Israel’s apostasy, God’s call, Israel’s confession, recognition of her orphaned status arising from her adultery/idolatry, God’s willingness to restore her and to provide the conditions wherein she might thrive and become a faithful consort.
God’s call is seen in 14:1-2a
Ephraim’s/Israel’s confession is found in 14:2b-3
God’s forgiveness and restoration is seen in 14:4-8

The liturgy is carefully constructed calling for a return because Israel has stumbled, preparing words for return. In 14:2b the stumbling is acknowledged and sacrifice is made of ‘the calves of our lips,’ i.e., through words. In addition 14:3 names their sin with Assyria, the iniquitous longing to become a military power (riding upon horses), idolatry, saying ‘Our God’ to the work of their own hands, and by recognizing that even the fatherless discover mercy in YHWH, calling to mind the predominant image of Hosea wed to an prostitute and claiming her children whether or not they were his.

In the LORD’s response, God freely loves them, heals them and turns his anger from them. Then he provides the moisture that makes possible the flourishing of the metaphor of a garden recognizing in the end that all of their fruitfulness is due to God’s provision.

Finally, in the Epilogue that point is driven home by the emphasis on understanding of the wise. Such theology is critical to all understanding of the Judeo-Christian God. All possibility of faith, righteousness, love and fruitfulness originates with God and subsequently appears in the follower.

The Toys
Coventry Patmore

My little Son, who look’d from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey’d,
I struck him, and dismiss’d
With hard words and unkiss’d,
--His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken’d eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a re-vein’d stone,
A piece of glass braded by the beach
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray’d
To God I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou has moulded from the clay,
Thou’lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
“I will be sorry for their childishness.”

Collect for the Day
Confession: Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, and word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Absolution: Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen. [BCP:360:Confession and Absolution]


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