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"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in my arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:1-4 (NIV)

Rita Hays, from Tennessee, recalls how excited she and her husband were when their sons took their first faltering steps as they led them by the hand.She also recalls messy mealtimes as they fed their infant sons, with food ending up on their sons' bibs, on the floor, and on them. Rita's husband and Rita enjoyed being fully involved in parenting.

In today's reading from Hosea, God is fully involved in parenting the Israelites. Rita envisions God as a loving parent teaching Israel to walk, lifting them up in an embrace, and bending down to feed them.

What a beautiful and powerful image of our Parent God. We are God's children, and God continuously nurtures us with grace and mercy just as a loving parent does. When we stumble, God is there to pick us up and guide us. God leads us with cords of kindness and hands of love, embraces us, and feeds us lovingly and patiently.

The role of a parent never stops, even after the children have become adults and left home. Like human parents, our Parent God keeps guiding and directing us no matter how old we get. Let us be grateful children!

Prayer: Thank you, God, for parenting us always. Help us turn to you as our main source of love and care, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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