SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 WEDNESDAY
But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate. — Luke 15: 22-24
Dear Church Family,
A broken family is the subject of one of Jesus’ most famous parables, the “Prodigal Son.” It’s so familiar to us. You know it well. Some insightful New Testament scholars have raised the question – how many prodigals are in this story? One prodigal “rips off” his father, breaks his heart, and leaves home. One dutiful prodigal stays home and works hard for the family. And the father of both boys, violates the norms of the day, by lavishly welcoming his younger back home – no apologies sought, a feast for family and friends prepared, the best clothes, shoes and rings restoring him — as if nothing happened. No penalties, no trial period to prove his sincerity, no berating, no “Boy, you nearly put your momma in the grave.” Hugs, kisses, tears of joy. The father as a Prodigal.
How do you return to God? Each day — we re-turn toward God in prayer. We return when God pops into our thoughts during the day. Something prompts gratitude – and you whisper, “thank you, Lord.” You have returned to God. Absence reminds us we drift from our “first love” – from God who never leaves you. But you must return and ask forgiveness, already waiting for you, for your sake. You realize your thoughts are not presentable – your words to others have been hasty and harsh maybe. You stun yourself when you realize this, “Father, forgive me for I have sinned.” Before you get the words out, arms of divine love, tears of joy – embrace you.
Returning is a lifelong practice. You seize the inheritance of your salvation, run off to a “far country,” – until suddenly the realization of what you had/have grasps you. The longing – regardless of motive, gives you courage. When you remember that Father Jesus draws for you, standing in the road, always looking, awaiting your return. Unconditional love’s arms ache to grab you up. And those words, “Welcome home, my child, I’ve been waiting for you.” We punish ourselves enough, if we are sincere and genuine, just by seeking forgiveness, yearning for what the Father’s already given you. And before you get the words out — once again, you are home.Blessings and the peace, grace and love of God awaiting us all this day, Fr. Steve