The story of the prodigal son reminds me of the church today, but mostly it reminds me of my own imperfections and failures at being gracious. I have quick to judge and slow to offer mercy and kindness. Tonight I think about Luke 15 and hear God speaking to me, to the body of Christ. I can’t get caught up in someone else’s redemption story and try and edit it to fit what makes me comfortable. That’s just not how God works. The redemption He brings about restores our dignity, our belonging, our hope, and relationship with Him and others.
When the prodigals return home, we can rejoice and celebrate. They’ve come back to community. I have found I have been the prodigal, but more often than not, I have been the spiteful brother questioning why the prodigal is welcomed with such lavish affection. I have hidden in the corner sulking with jealous disdain. It serves no purpose; this brooding about and pouting like a petulant child jeopardizes relationships. So I stop and think. Grace invites me to see differently. Look for the scarlet thread of redemption weaving through another soul’s story.
I have the Father. I have his promise. I have the inheritance. I am always with Him. He’s never left me. Why then do I despise the restoration and redemption of the lost and broken who are greatly celebrated when they return to the Father? I can celebrate their return too. I can wonder in grateful thanks that the prodigal has come home. Family is made whole again. When the prodigals return home, we get another glimpse of extravagant grace. It is a grace that transforms lives. I offer these words of hopeful prayer:
May it be said of us that we joined the celebration. That we did not sulk. That we did not throw a temper tantrum because we thought people should be punished according to our own judgment which is fickle, unfair, and unredemptive. May it be said of us that we extended mercy and grace that pointed sinners home to love and relationship with the Father.
We, too, were once the prodigal on the other side of grace. We, too, squandered the love so freely given. We, too, have had a moment of reckoning. But God, Who is rich in love, put His robe on our shoulders. Made merry over us. And made us fully alive again. This is good news!
When the prodigals return home, we celebrate our reunion, their reunion. For God has done the impossible and made a way for sinners to become saints, for the reckless to become the redeemed, for the dead to come to life. This is amazing grace!
This post is a part of my 31 Days of Writing challenge. It’s all about taking the sour things of life and reframing them to find the sweetness of faith, hope, and resilience. I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. You’ll also find me sharing bits and pieces on my Twitter and IG accounts. I’d love to see you here, and you can also subscribe to my blog/newsletter here.