This weekend I think I have found my favourite reading in the Bible in the Parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son. It is probably one of the best known stories that Jesus told but one that teaches us so much about God’s love for us and how to love one another.
In essence we can all relate to the story’s main characters…
The younger son – at times we can become too focussed on ourselves and our own very basic needs. We can at time lose sight of anything beyond our own wants. We manage to convince ourselves that we need to be richer, more attractive, more popular. We can lose sight of getting the right balance in life and stray far from what God wants for us.
The longing Father – as parents especially we can share the pain of separation experienced by the loving father. When our children make mistakes or find it difficult to accept our guidance or love we can struggle to bring them close to us. Ultimately we try to offer our children unconditional love and forgiveness but in reality it is challenging to live this out. God is this loving father waiting for our return.
The jealous brother – we can sometimes feel resentful of the celebrations happening on the return of our brother. We can feel frustrated that there is a celebration when we have been loyal for all of the time. The father reassures us that we will always be close to him – God tells us simply that we must celebrate the return and forgiveness of others.
So a few questions for the week ahead.
If you took some time to think about it which of the characters would you be?
What can we learn from this account about how to love and forgive one another?
How can we ask God, and one another, for forgiveness when things go wrong?
Jesus’ teaching in its simplest forms can be summarised by two words – love and forgiveness. It is this which teaches us how to live and love one another just as God loves us.
Have a good week ahead and journey this Lent as we prepare for the Easter season.
This week our theme is about reconciliation and is based in the beautiful account of the parable of the Prodigal or Lost Son. What can we take from this during this season of Lent?
The parable has a real resonance as an account rich in its humanity… all of us at times can be lost in our lives, whether for a short moment or a whole chapter of life. We can find ourselves at a distance from those we love most, our faith or from God in some way. The story narrates to us the very normal and human tendency to be tempted to make decisions based on our love of a very short term pleasure or hedonistic motivation.
What would these be for you?
A temptation to want more in our lives?
The lure of money or possessions?
The temptation to try and do things to be popular rather than do what’s right?
The attraction of power and status?
All of us could, to a greater our lesser extent, see how we have been drawn, like moths to the lights, by one or more of these things. We have an opportunity to make a change or choice to do the right thing and the parable of the Prodigal Son challenges us to do just this.
How can we do this?
We can look to heal broken relationships one small step at a time. Sometimes making the first move is all it will take (even if we think we were in the right!)
We can aim to “live simply” in some way – could we give some of our possessions, great or small to others?
We can look to stick to what is right, however challenging or unpopular this may be. This may be simply being true to your faith or core beliefs when being challenged.
We can empower others and take a deep rooted joy in being them take the lead or credit for something we have been a part of.
Even in writing these suggestions I find a smile on my face and can feel how worthwhile some of these small steps may be. As we hear in the parable even if we are at life’s lowest ebb if we stop to think and listen we can hear God’s call for us. God, like the father, will be longing and waiting for us to set off on that journey. The journey back to his loving arms… May be time to get packing!