Sometimes I wonder if Hosea ever just kissed Gomer. If you know the story, maybe you wonder too. It’s a story from the Bible, but Disney and Hollywood stole it. You may know it as the story of Cinderella or Pretty Woman: a woman of low standing rescued and redeemed by the love of a good man.
Ironically, the scriptural version is probably the most racy. God directs Hosea, a prophet of God, a professional hard-truth-teller, to marry a prostitute named Gomer (an unfortunate name in any era). God has tried to tell Israel just how much she’s loved, but she refuses to listen. God figures maybe some live drama will get the message across. Maybe they need to see love lived. So Hosea is called to play the role of God, the faithful lover, to Israel’s Gomer, the faithless adulterer.
Of course, the real marriage of Hosea and his bride is as complicated and troubled as Israel’s relationship history with God. Gomer can’t seem to believe that Hosea’s love could ever be enough for her. She keeps running out on Hosea. He has to shamefully walk to the red light district and buy back his wife. They bear some children, some rightfully Hosea’s, and some wrongfully not.
We never really get to see whether they live happily ever after or not. The story of Hosea dissolves into a long poetic piece about Yahweh’s jealous love for people. So we have to do some speculation about whether Gomer ever received and returned real love, or whether their marriage stayed troubled and tangled until their golden years.
But today, I’d rather speculate about whether Hosea ever kissed Gomer. After all, if Hosea’s love is supposed to represent God’s love for Israel, or even for all people, I want to know if Hosea ever had some moment, on a quiet Tuesday morning, when he looked over at Gomer during breakfast, saw her reckless past, her restless body, her broken heart, her wandering ways, and just loved her. Liked her even. Did he have some moment where he threw caution and wisdom aside and felt such a relentless affection for her that he couldn’t stop from kissing her purely on the cheek for no good reason, but a million little ones?
Aside from all the obligation, and God’s command to have babies, and the prophetic weight of the world on his shoulders, did he ever just crave her company?
Because that’s how I hope God loves us. What if God doesn’t love us out of a contractual obligation, or to prove a theological point, but out of a pure, winsome, courageous passion? Even more so, I’d like to think that this love is lived out beyond the dramatic moments of the cross and the grave, but that this love shows up on Tuesday mornings, and in good meals, and in good kisses, and the right song at the right time. No matter how much we run, no matter how much God has to chase, that kind of love can turn life upside down.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Mike
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