Everyone knows the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus tells in Luke15. Yesterday, our Christmas sermon was about this Father, and here's my rendition of it. Lord, help us do Heavenly kind of thinking.
Luke 15 is all about Intense Seeking. The Seeking of the Lost Sheep. The Seeking of the Lost Coin. The Seeking of the Lost Son. And then the joy that explodes when the lost has been found!
Jesus' life is all about intersecting with lost lives. Lives that are a wreck. In this story, the Son shows extreme disrespect, especially for in the Eastern culture. He no longer wants to live with his Father; or under his Father's rules and authority. He distances himself from the Father's Presence by going to a far off country--where nobody knows him and reports won't make it back to his father. Separation is the only solution he sees. He's sure it will bring the freedom he longs for. He wants to live his own way, be his own boss, follow his own rules. Isn't that what all of us think we want? We, too, reject the Father's authority.
The Son made choices that he thought would bring him happiness...it resulted in a wasted life. He finds himself in the deepest pit, hungry, homeless and broken. He stoops to be a feeder of pigs, eating the garbage of pigs. The stench of the Jewish untouchables surrounded him. Downward spiral...does life hold more than this? Then...the Pigpen Revelation! Life would be better with the Father! With the Father! The Son realizes that repentance and bending his knee to authority would place him back in his Father's home. He turns his feet back towards Home.
Father waits daily for the dust to flutter down the road, showing his Son. Today's the day! His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him and kissed him. The Son started his speech, "Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned against you; I don't deserve to be called your Son ever again." and the Father loves him--dirty worn clothes; matted, crusty hair; vermin-filled beard; skin caked with dust; the stench of pigs strong. And the Father runs to him! Runs! Throwing off the dignity due an elder, he hitches up his long garments and Runs! Kissing his son, road dust and all! The message is sent loud and clear with that embrace. "You have value to me! You are my Son and I love you!"
The touch of human skin against skin. The contact of humanity, open arms welcoming another made in God's image. I, too, am accepted into Abba's arms. There, I find relief of burdens. My hunger is eased. My heart needs met full on.
This Son of Mine has come back. My daughter has come home. My child is ready to place self under the Father's authority and let rebellious self go. The Father is watching and waiting. Running and embracing. Clothing and Feasting. Rejoicing.
Why did the Father's True Son come to earth?
He would do just about anything, would go to the extreme, go to the "other side" to rescue and redeem those he created in His image.
We come as we are--we know full well how dirty we are. Mercy says YES! No waiting for the clean to happen first. Of course the Sin matters...much has been lost that cannot be replaced. But in his mercy, the Father's Love welcomes all.
Lavish Mercy. Generous Love Beyond Belief.
Did you know Prodigal means simple, lavish, extravagant generosity?
Look but Don't Take
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