The eleventh chapter of The Book of
the Prophet Hosea begins with these words: "Thus says the LORD: When Israel
was achild I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son"
(Hos. 11:1). Again, one notes the presence of the first three foundational
elements in the formation of a contemplative intercessor that were mentioned in
the previous teaching: "I loved him" (love); "myson"
(relationship); and "a child" (identity). The Father "calls" me out of
"Egypt"--the place that is associated biblically with slavery and captivity.
The Father calls me out of the 'Egyptian fleshpots' of a false identity--the
slavery to worldly attitudes, values and fears-- and "calls" me into the truth
of my identity as child and as son or daughter: "I have called you by name: you
are mine" (Is. 43:1). In John 8:32 Jesus states, "You will know the truth, and
the truth will set you free." In calling me into my true identity, the
Father calls me into freedom.
In the gospel story of the prodigal
son (Luke 15:1-32), a wayward son is reunited with his father and in being so,
he is restored to the truth of his relationship with his father and even
"reclaimed" by his father: "This son of mine was dead, and has come to
life again; he was lost and has been found" (Luke 15:24). The son's previous
choices were made based upon his own false sense of identity and, hence, were
based upon an erroneous understanding of freedom which resulted in his becoming
"lost" and spiritually "dead": "He squandered his inheritance on a life of
dissipation" (Luke 15:13).Being
'found' and 'coming to life again' are associated with the grace of the son's
return ("coming to his senses"--[verse 17]; "so he got up and went back to the
father"--[verse 20]), his being embraced and kissed by his father and reset in
relational truth to the father: "This son of mine" (verse 24). Only a son
can truly "be at home"--not a slave:
"So, you are no longer a slave but
a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God" (Gal.4:7).
The Father calls forth my true identity. It is
up to me to respond. When I do respond my true identity can come forth:
"When Israel came forth from
Egypt, the house of Jacob from an alien people, Judah became God's holy
place, Israel God's domain" (Psalm 114:1-2).
alien, can mean 'foreign; outsider'. Not only is a false identity 'foreign' to
the truth of my being son or daughter of the Father, but a false identity also
imprisons me as an 'outsider'--one who lives outside of a personal, loving
relationship with the Father. Again, towards the beginning of the story of the
prodigal son we are told that the son "set off to a distant country"
(Luke 15:13) - "distant" meaning, 'separate, far removed, or far apart in
relationship'. Rather, each of us has been re-created to live now 'inside' the
Father's embrace, 'at home' in an intense relational intimacy with the Father!
do I experience my freedom as a true son or daughter of the Father?
I recall my own personal journey back to the Father?
Any scripture from the text; Psalm 103:13; 2Cr.6:18; Gal. 5:1
TIME TO EXPIATE"
PLEASE VISIT "THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" ON THE "EVENTS" PAGE