Reading: Hosea 14, selected verses (New Living Translation)
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.”
The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon.
“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.”
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.
We love you, Lord, for you hear us; you listen when we call, and we shall call upon your name as long as we live.
When we have been distressed and alone, and when we are filled with joy;
when we have faced even the anguish of death, and the joy of new life;
you hear us, Lord God; our prayers are heard, and your answer awaits.
Your grace and your mercy are ever-present,
surrounding our lives with your care.
You see us, Lord; you know us by name; in the face of all the world, still, your hand reaches out to us, lifts us up, and fills us with life.
And so our souls find rest, and our spirits rejoice in your love.