Part of me wants to send a quick survey out to my congregation; a survey of only one question, "How many of you have actually read the book of Hosea?"
I get what the RCL is trying to do. They want to to experience more of the Bible - its women, its laments, its tough spots. I get it, and I applaud their work. But Hosea 1? Really?
Oh God, if you can find 5 faithful people at St. Paul's, please don't let his be read.
Even as it ends, as every prophecy does, with hope, Hosea 1.2-10 is really hard to hear, and even harder to explain. If we were hoping to perpetuate the heresy of the God of the Old Testament being different than the God of the New, this would be a good place to start. If we wanted our people who are struggling and hurting to think that maybe God really does just mess with people sometimes, this would be the proof-text.
Marry a whore. Have children to the whore. And then feel my pain when she leaves.
I am not your God and you are not my people.
This stuff is so hard to hear that if your parish has chosen this track, you almost HAVE to preach it. Your people won't hear another word after Hosea is read, unless you grit your teeth and share with them that sometimes being a prophet really sucks.
But seriously, RCL people, you skipped the psalm verse about breaking teeth, maybe you could have skipped over the poor plight of Hosea. I'm just saying.