15 October 2017

Welcome to St Clement’s,

It’s great to have you with us today as we start a new term learning from God’s message to his people through the Old Testament prophet Hosea. As we learn from this prophecy, written down in the Bible book Hosea, we’re going to see what God’s love is like. Today as we look at Hosea chapters 1-3 we’ll see this not just in prophetic words that come to pass, but in action, as Hosea is told to enact a living parable of what God’s love is like.

Hosea is called by God to do something shocking. Marry a woman, knowing that she will be unfaithful to him and forsake him for other lovers (Hosea 1:2). This mirrors exactly what Israel has done to God. But then, perhaps more shocking, God calls Hosea to find his wife, love her again and buy her back (Hosea 3:1-2). This mirrors what God will do for Israel. One writer says that this is the second greatest story in the Bible.

For the greatest story is the gospel, how God in his love for us, sent his Son into the world to pursue us and find us, and buy us back at great cost, the cost of his Son. We learnt about this greatest story in Romans last term that, ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8 NIV)

The wonderful extent of God’s love is picked up in an old hymn by Samuel Crossman (1623-1683):

My song is love unknown, my Saviour’s love to me; love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be. O who am I, that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

Let’s celebrate God’s love for us today, and especially as we take Communion, remembering Jesus’ death for us in our place.