Tag Archives: return

Enduring Love vii

Hosea 14:1-9 (CEV)

 Turn Back to the Lord

14 Israel, return! Come back
to the Lord, your God.
    Sin has made you fall.
Return to the Lord and say,
    “Please forgive our sins.
Accept our good sacrifices
    of praise instead of bulls.
Assyria can’t save us,
    and chariots can’t help.
So we will no longer worship
    the idols we have made.
Our Lord, you show mercy
    to orphans.”

The Lord Promises To Forgive

Israel, you have rejected me,
    but my anger is gone;
I will heal you and love you
    without limit.
I will be like the dew—
then you will blossom like lilies
    and have roots like a tree.
Your branches will spread
with the beauty
    of an olive tree
and with the aroma
    of Lebanon Forest.
You will rest in my shade,
    and your grain will grow.
You will blossom
    like a vineyard
and be famous as the wine
    from Lebanon.

Israel, give up your idols!
I will answer your prayers
    and take care of you.
I am that glorious tree,
    the source of your fruit.

If you are wise, you will know
    and understand what I mean.
I am the Lord, and I lead you
    along the right path.
If you obey me,
    we will walk together,
but if you are wicked,
    you will stumble.

It has not worked out
as I may have imagined,
the things I thought
could save me
have let me down.
I was wrong.
I made bad choices,
got distracted
from what really matters,
was swayed by the crowd,
attracted by the shiny…

And so,
I come back to you Lord,
and I ask your forgiveness.

You promise
never to reject me,
to accept me,
to love me without limit.

You know what the image of a tree means to me.
Life has left me
feeling dry,
lifeless,
fruitless,
having no purpose

2012-11-11 14.29.22But you
promise me life,
strong roots,
spreading out in beauty.
I can rest in you
and there will be beauty
and purpose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn your shade,
I will flourish again.

So,
I come to you Lord,
seeking your rest
and your restoration.
Work in me,
I pray,
that we may walk together
into all
that you have prepared.

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for saving me.
Thank you for tending my wounds.
Thank you for supporting me.
Thank you for rebuilding me
in your strength
and love.

Come, Let Us Return

A Faithful God vii

Two Sons

11 Jesus also told them another story:

Once a man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, “Give me my share of the property.” So the father divided his property between his two sons.

13 Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything he owned and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 He had spent everything, when a bad famine spread through that whole land. Soon he had nothing to eat.

15 He went to work for a man in that country, and the man sent him out to take care of his pigs. 16 He would have been glad to eat what the pigs were eating, but no one gave him a thing.

17 Finally, he came to his senses and said, “My father’s workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death! 18 I will go to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer good enough to be called your son. Treat me like one of your workers.’”

20 The younger son got up and started back to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.

21 The son said, “Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son.”

22 But his father said to the servants, “Hurry and bring the best clothes and put them on him. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 Get the best calf and prepare it, so we can eat and celebrate. 24 This son of mine was dead, but has now come back to life. He was lost and has now been found.” And they began to celebrate.

25 The older son had been out in the field. But when he came near the house, he heard the music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants over and asked, “What’s going on here?”

27 The servant answered, “Your brother has come home safe and sound, and your father ordered us to kill the best calf.” 28 The older brother got so angry that he would not even go into the house.

His father came out and begged him to go in. 29 But he said to his father, “For years I have worked for you like a slave and have always obeyed you. But you have never even given me a little goat, so that I could give a dinner for my friends. 30 This other son of yours wasted your money on prostitutes. And now that he has come home, you ordered the best calf to be killed for a feast.”

31 His father replied, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we should be glad and celebrate! Your brother was dead, but he is now alive. He was lost and has now been found.”

There must be more
to life
than this.
I don’t want to be here,
I’m wasted.
I want to be
Out There,
living my life,
enjoying the pleasures,
seeing the world.

It seems there is more,
so much more –
hunger,
disgrace,
self-loathing,
that dawning realisation
that I never had it so good,
yet I thought I knew better,
thought I could find the elusive
out there.

I was wrong.
How I long to return,
to a place of safety,
care
and nourishment.
What a fool I have been.
The worst of there
was so much more
than anything I have found here.

I wonder…

If I return,
can I work there,
earn my keep?
I don’t expect to be treated like a son,
an heir,
part of the family,
but if I can just serve them
I will be so much better
than I am here.

My son,
my precious child,
so dear to me,
and yet
such a wanderer.
But he’s still my son,
flesh of my flesh,
an intrinsic part of my life,
my heart,
my world.

How I miss him.
I long for his safe return.
What he has done
doesn’t matter,
we can sort it out,
make things right again,
if only he comes home.
I yearn for that day.

Here he is!
he has returned.
I can see him coming,
getting closer to me.
I could wait here,
arms crossed,
furious,
ready with a piece of my mind,
a list of all he’s got wrong.
But that is not what matters now.
What is important is that he is coming,
returning to me,
to the safety of my arms.

Father,
I’ve got it so wrong,
been so stupid,
thought I knew better.
I’m sorry.
Can I come home?

I don’t expect
to be welcomed into the house,
but if I can just live here
and serve you.
That is so much better
than the way I chose.
I want to be back
under your roof,
but I don’t expect
to be your son any more.

You are my son.
You always were my son
and you always will be.
You are here now,
chosen to return
and live with me,
that is what matters.

So you can get away with anything
and still be welcome here
can you?
Whatever happened to loyalty
and faithfulness?
Do they count for nothing?
Is anyone welcome
back here?

Well yes,
actually they are.
This home is for those who knew all along
what they had,
and for those who had to go a long way away
to discover it.
It is for who have done right,
and for those
who discover how wrong they have got it.
This home is for anyone
who wants to call it home.

Come As You Are

Taking it back

I’m never that keen on trying clothes on in shops.  Yes you need to get a rough idea of it it’s going to fit you, but I’d much rather bring it home, try it on in the comfort of my own bedroom, see how it looks with other things and be able to see it in real light.

I can do that because I know that stores will take their products back.  I can return an item if it’s label is still on and with a receipt and be given my money back or something else.

Of course shops only do this if the item is still in perfect condition, and are under no obligation to do so, but do it to be helpful.

God makes the promise of taking back under quite different circumstances to Jeremiah:

If you return, I will take you back, and you will be my servant again

Jeremiah had been having a good old moan to God.  God had given Jeremiah this message to deliver.  The people weren’t happy to hear that they were facing destruction because of the way they had chosen to live their lives, and of course they were taking it out on Jeremiah.  Jeremiah feels despondent about constantly having to be telling them bad news – after all, he’d never wanted the job in the first place!

He feels he’s done what God asked him to – yet is suffering for it.  He is turning his back on God and what he has asked him to do.

But far from turning him away, God says he will take Jeremiah back.

God doesn’t say, ‘Jeremiah you moan so, go away’.  He doesn’t say, ‘Jeremiah you haven’t done what I asked you to, you are no longer mine’.  God doesn’t refuse to take Jeremiah back because he is soiled and broken, no if Jeremiah turns back to God, he is welcome and accepted, and given his task again.

Whoever we are, whatever our problems, whatever we have got wrong, God still welcomes us back to him.  If we come back to him, he doesn’t reject us as wrong, already used – or misused.  He accepts us, welcomes us home, and invites us to start again back on the right track.

Lord,

I know

that at times I have wandered s far from what you have asked me to do;

I have not enjoyed it;

I have complained;

and I have got it wrong.

But thank you

that it I return to you,

you welcome me home,

you rescue me

and invite me back to the task.

Lord

this day,

I return to you