“Married to a Faithful God”
As most of you know, I have recently gone back to school. I’ve begun working on a Doctor of Ministry degree with a focus on pastoral care for engaged and married couples, especially couples that come from two different church backgrounds. Last week I finished the paper for the first course on Contextual Theology that I took in June, and started to turn my attention towards the courses I’ll be taking in the Fall and Winter terms coming up. I discovered that I can make use of the libraries of the Saskatoon Theological Union, and I took out a pile of books on Friday related to the theology and spirituality of marriage. I’m just beginning to put together a reading list for a course on marriage next winter.
So it’s interesting that marriage is the theme of our reading from the prophet Hosea today. In this case, Hosea isn’t offering a theology of marriage for us to consider in our own relationships. And he isn’t really giving us any advice for our marriages, but he is using marriage as a metaphor for the relationship between God and God’s people.
Instead of giving a speech or writing … Read more »
As we move through these summer Sundays, each week we encounter a Hebrew prophet. What the prophets usually do is they act as spokespersons, filled with the Spirit to proclaim God’s word to the people. Operating out of an urgent sense of compulsion, they announce the Lord’s will upon the nation and exhort the people to repent of their sinful ways. They broadcast this message in the Temple, in the marketplaces, in the streets and squares – wherever they can get a hearing. The Hebrew Bible is filled with their eloquent words, denouncing a people, predicting that foreign nations will vanquish them, calling the people to repentance, and describing in vivid detail the Lord’s restoration.
The first chapter of Hosea, which we heard this morning, puts forward another image of a prophet. Hosea is not a spokesperson here. He doesn’t say a word. Instead of proclaiming a message from God through speech, Hosea performs a significant action. God instructs him, and Hosea obeys the instruction, to get married to a prostitute. It’s a crazy and shocking thing to do, just to make a point, but Hosea does it.
The idea is that Hosea’s marriage to a whore is a symbolic representation … Read more »