Questions for Discussion:
1. The author says, "God wants you back." How do you respond to those words? Do they connect to your life? If so, how?
2. Can you think of a time in your life recently when you've had a "wake-up call" from God. What were the circumstances? How did you respond?
3. Re-read the quote from Bonhoeffer. Why do you think he says that the "grace of the gospel is so hard for the pious to understand"? What does that mean?
4. What is your response to the entire Bonhoeffer quote?
Scripture Passage: Zechariah 1: 1 - 4
In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, son of Berechiah son of Iddo, saying: The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.' But they did not hear or heed me, says the Lord.
God Wants You Back
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you." - Zechariah 1: 3
Sisters and brothers, God wants you back. God wants us back.
How did we get separated? How did our faith become weak, our hope diminished, our love tepid?
Life can do that to you. There are the disappointments that leave us hurt and angry. There are the losses that leave us bewildered and aching.
There are days that grind us down, and nights without rest. We tally it all up and wonder, have all our efforts amounted to anything?
There are our own foibles and failures. The times we have been the one to betray another. The times we have said and done things we regret.
In his classic study of life in Christian community, "Life Together," Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
"It is the grace of the gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner you are, to God who loves you.
"He wants you as you are; he does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; he wants you alone."
God wants you back.
Take us back. Recall us. Set us in order. Imbue in us a power that keeps company with pain, and march us again across this beautiful, fragile, tormented and perishable earth to sing the songs of Zion. (adapted from New Century Hymnal, # 837)