by Jen Aldrich
April 11, 2022
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there." - Hosea 2:14
In my last blog post, I talked about the wilderness (also known as the desert) as a place to secure our identity. It was the temper's first point of attack for Jesus in his wilderness. And it was a critical part of the story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt -- their identity adjusting from slaves to children of God.
Today I want to turn to Hosea, a story about a prostitute whom God dearly loves and makes way for her to experience this love. He draws her into the wilderness and out of her own bondage and lesser identity.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. There I will give back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt." [2:14-15]
And it pinnacles with, "In that day... you will call me 'my husband'... no longer 'my master.'" [2:16]
This being Holy Week, as we near the Last Supper, I think about the transformation the disciples had as they spent time in Jesus' presence. Learning from him, sharing experiences, growing in intimacy. Jesus' goal wasn't to surround himself with servants, but those with whom he could share his life. "No longer do I call you... but friends." John 15:15. It takes time to build relationship, but they grew into those place of intimacy, privy to knowledge, knowing and being known. Same for the prostitute in Hosea -- called from being a sex worker / servant into a place of true identity as a lover, into that place of intimacy.
I wonder if this applies to our relationship with the church--whom God calls His 'bride'? Have we spent our days and years and lives doing 'work for' the Lord, 'serving', when if we lean in we find all he really wanted was our friendship. He calls us into the place of knowing his heart and his business. He invites us to the Table. Here he comes close, bends down, and washes our feet. And asks us simply to do the same. It is a posture of service, but from the inside out. From relationship, not work. From that place of intimate communion. Held -- and compelled -- by Love.