Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church
Worship Focus for August 11
Rev. Hardy H. Kim, preaching
Greetings!

It was great to be back with our community for worship last week. We had a hymn sing and communion to celebrate. There were children reading scripture and enjoying the worship space at our praygrounds. I am grateful for all of the leaders who work so hard to craft worship into a meaningful spiritual experience.

At the same time, I have to admit that coming back felt hard because it means I’m done with my break, and I have to resume paying attention to the things happening in the wider world. In particular, I was heartbroken and angry to hear about the THREE mass shootings that took place in the week leading up to last Sunday. Even one in our own backyard! I tremble to think how many people who are a part of our community – or who are connected to it – might have been in Gilroy that day, or who had considered being there. It was hard to think about the hate that motivated at least one of the attacks. It was hard – but felt necessary – to pray in confession about the ways that we might have contributed to (or failed to prevent) the violence that tore all those lives apart.

It’s these kinds of thoughts that I bring with me into my meditations on a passage from Hosea this week. Where in God’s word can we find comfort? Where might it challenge us? What message does the Spirit want to whisper into our hearts? I look forward to gathering with you to pray, sing, and reflect on Sunday.

Faithfully,
Hardy

P.S. Make your day complete by coming 10 minutes early to 10 a.m. worship for our August Hymn Sing and joining us for a time of celebration and then be part of the fellowship at our Community Potluck Dinner at 6 p.m. Bring a dish to share!

Image from Gun Violence Archive .
Theme for Sunday

“It is Hosea who flashes a glimpse into the inner life of God as He ponders His relationship to Israel. In parables and in lyrical outbursts the decisive motive behind God’s strategy in history is declared. The decisive motive is love.”

—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets
Questions for Reflection
  • Was there ever a time when someone you loved did something that was very foolish or dangerous? What kinds of thoughts or feelings did you experience? Was it just one idea or emotion? Were there many?
  • How did you respond to that person, and what made you respond that way?
Hosea 11:1-11

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes. My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all.

How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west. They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.
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