Scripture: Hosea 3:1-5
Key verse: (1) The LORD said to me again, “Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”
Reflection: Love; it’s one word in English, but can be translated so many ways in other languages. For example, in Tamil, there are at least four different words for love:
காதல் – Kaadhal (Romantic love/passionate love)
பாசம் – Paasam (An involuntary feeling of love which comes in between family members, friends, etc.)
அன்பு – Anbu (a pure love with no intentions, like a mother has to their children)
நேசம் – Ne(y)sam (An affectionate feeling)
In the first verse of our passage today, a version of ‘love’ is used four times. Hosea is to love a woman that is unfaithful similar to the way God loves an unfaithful Israel. It is a passionate love, a dutiful love, a pure love, and an affectionate love, all in one. Hosea has a disciplined love for his wife similar to how God has a disciplined love for Israel. In summary, it is a covenantal love. This love is in direct contrast to the adulterous love between Homer’s wife and her partner and Israel and her other gods.
Covenantal love. It’s not on the brief list above of ways love is expressed in Tamil (and there are many others). It’s also not a way we typically express love in the English language. I can’t remember a time when someone said to me, “I covenantally love you!” However, it’s a love God shared with Israel, shares with Christ and the Holy Spirit, and shares with us. As we recently concluded our recent sermon series, “For Charlotte,” I think of how we covenantally love the Gospel, the Church, the Neighbor, and the City. What a beautiful love God shared with us, and invites us to share with each other; covenantal love.
Prayer: Dear God, as we go into the world today, we ask that you continue to covenantally love us as you loved Israel. Shine your light through us so we may covenantally love the Gospel, our Church, our Neighbor, and our City. Be with us as we go out in love. Amen.
Author: Amy Speas
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].