Readings each Sunday Vanderbilt lectionary library and Textweek

Hosea 1: 2-10;Psalm 85; Colossians 2: 6-19 Luke 11:1-13 from Vanderbilt

Tenth Sunday of Pentecost 24 July 2016 pdf
Tenth Sunday of Pentecost 24 July 2016 mp3

Proper 12C / Ordinary 17C / Pentecost +10 Jul 24, 2016 from Textweek

It is really quite easy to dismiss the first reading; the words of the prophet Hosea written around 750BCE.

We’re not particularly interested in who he married, prostitute or not, and nor are we interested about the naming of his children.

We are also a little sceptical about those who claim that the Lord speaks through them; and on top of all that we’re also less interested in the past politics of Israel and Judah than we are in the present politics of Israel and Palestine.

However, rather than completely switch off and delete the first reading, it can be quite insightful to pause and contemplate the reality of a ‘prophetic voice’.

A prophet seeks to give voice to an awareness of the world within the context of the Divine; a world view from a God given perspective.

The prophet seeks to look beyond the obvious of the everyday world and see the becoming of creation in relation to the Divine potential of creation; the prophetic voice seeks to name the unfolding of God in creation.

Hosea gives voice to his insight using the literary device of a dialogue with God, a sort of staged conversation that makes real, or brings to life the voice, intent, perspective and action of God.

For those with a primitive understanding of a father-figure God in control of everything such a ‘conversation with God’ can effectively explain why things are the way they are.

And so perhaps, for us today, this device is also helpful if we employ it for ourselves; for then we discover what such a conversation with God might sound like for ourselves.

Hosea makes visible the ‘God-view’ of life; and perhaps in each and every one there is an opportunity to experience such a view; to look at the world and at ourselves from a divine reference point.

Almost regardless of our own appreciation of God; whether God is love, or God is within, or if our God is a divine Trinitarian dance, we might consider how would we see the world, and the world’s unfolding, when we shift our perspective from our everyday sight to our divine insight; how do we see the world from the higher part of our being.

There are times, often only moments, when we hear and when we make, prophetic utterances; we all have glimpses of a divine perspective of creation and of creation’s unfolding. Perhaps, if we contemplated these insights we, like Hosea, might also become more aware of our part, and a crucial part, in the unfolding of God’s creative activity.

Munich, Turkey, Nice, Brexit, Stopping the boats, Obesity, Cancer and Diabetes, Olympic drug tests, Budget deficits and record bank profits; these news grabs all mimic the impression of prophesy for they too create for us a world view, they make visible life’s unfolding from a particular perspective. However it is a worldview birthed in the mortality of the everyday and without reference to any divine reality that sets life in the context of eternity.

And we embrace other reference points, to give us perspective; Marc Marquez won in Germany, Lewis Hamilton takes the British Grand Prix and many more will look at the AFL ladder and the performance of ‘their’ team to establish reference points for the overall state of the world’s unfolding. Once again these are reference points birthed in the mortality of the ego, they reference ourselves and seek a greater stage on which we can project our desires; they are distractions from the prophetic insight that seeks more universal unfolding in the game of life.

It is an important distinction and one we might see illuminated in the text of Hosea, for his insights are narrated relationally , to his wife and his children; these are not sports stars, nor the news of others; his divine references are brought into the closeness and intimacy of his life and his bringing life to birth.

Hosea’s contemplations identify a movement from "You are not my people," to "Children of the living God"; and although this movement is described in a primitive Hebraic setting, it resonates with the enlightenment we receive ‘in Christ’.

It is therefore a movement for us to consider and contemplate in the scope of our own lives and our own participation of life’s unfolding.

Likewise the second reading speaks of a movement from “dead in trespasses” to “alive together with God”, and again the movement is described in Paul’s primitive framework of understanding, yet it also resonates with what is revealed ‘in Christ’.

Both readings speak of life lived with a prophetic insight, and that perspective of life is birthed in prayer; so now when we read the gospel, we might see more clearly the mystical reality of ‘prayer’ rather than a formula for ‘how to pray’.

“Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray"”; and we might now ask the same question, seeking to find that same place that Jesus was praying in.

“Father, hallowed be your name Your kingdom come”; lifts our perspective higher than the confines of the everyday; in our liturgical version of this prayer we acknowledge the place of the divine on earth, in the everyday.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.

We look beyond Malcolm Turnbull, we look beyond our favourite team, beyond even church and family, beyond ourselves to find the place of prayer.

“Give us each day our daily bread”; is a seeking for that which sustains us, that which feeds us and that which is the very symbol of communion.

“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us”; we seek ourselves free from self-guilt and shame, free from the minor impediments that are magnified by our ego. And we seek ourselves free from the hatred and distinctions that we project onto others. For prayer is formed in the oneness of creation, the voice of the divine speaks not to Hosea , nor to Paul, it is enfleshed in all of creation.

“And do not bring us to the time of trial”; is a statement of confident empowerment; it is a desire for life without fear; and so too a knowing that love is found beyond fear, and that love, Divine love will take us into the place of no-fear, the “certain place” that Jesus was found praying in.

Today’s readings invite us to movement; they invite us to discover a prophetic perspective that we will find birthed in prayer; and the encouragement makes a very tempting promise: “For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Can we really change the world? Yes we can, and yes we do; for we are given every opportunity to be "Children of the living God", “alive together with God” and we also retain the everyday option of not changing as well.

Peter Humphris