Hosea is a tough book to read. It starts out with the Lord telling Hosea to take a wife who is a prostitute and have children with her, all named things relating to God not being with the people. The book continues in this vein with the Lord calling Israel out on all the “infidelity” it committed by worshipping other gods. I have friends who cannot read it because their significant others have cheated on them in various relationships.
This specific chapter begs Israel to return to the Lord and talks about all the healing that can happen if they do. Forgiveness will be granted, their lands will bear fruit, and all shall be well. It stuns me how much grace the Lord is offering to Israel even after all the infidelity that occurred.
As I ponder these promises of healing, I cannot help but think of my practice of taking part in the sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent every year if I can. I do truly believe that God forgives my sins when I confess them in prayer but confessing to a priest using one of the rites in the Book of Common Prayer gives me emotional and mental benefits. It does truly help to get it into my head that my sins are forgiven, and God is faithful in this way.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.