I love this story. It’s filled with all the drama of today’s families or sitcoms. You know the ones. The Housewives of such and such a city. The guy or girl who gets to choose the love of his or her life from a group of awe-struck girls or guys all clamoring to be the chosen one.
And we get to watch all of this drama unfold right on our TV sets. How lucky are we? And we can stand as close to the TV as we want!
The parable of the lost son (or the prodigal son) has all the action of one of those shows we vegetate in front of, only it’s better. Here we have a father and his two sons. The younger son wishes his father dead so he’ll get his inheritance right then. Kids those days! The father relents and divides his wealth between his two sons. The brat, I mean the younger son goes away with the money and is eventually enticed by his peers. He’d been warned to stay away from people like this, but allows temptation to get the better of him.
So he has a great time until the money runs out. Of course then, his friends run out too. Sadly, or from my point of view, rightly, the young man finds himself lost, desperate, hungry, and living with pigs.
Haylie’s like, “I’ve so been there.”
The prodigal son has now come to a place in his life where he understands that he must change his direction. And so he figures it’s time to head home. It would be nice if we didn’t have to hit bottom in order to recognize we need help. But such is human nature.
Once this kid is on the path home, he’s suddenly afraid his father won’t welcome him. He decides to tell his father he’s not worthy to live in their home and wants to be one of his hired hands. He’s really terrified of how his father is going to react to him and he thinks offering to be a hired hand will be the best way to go.
Much to his surprise, when he arrives home, his father welcomes him with open arms and doesn’t tell him, “I told you so,” but puts a robe on him and celebrates his return.
The older brother’s reaction is not so good. He’s angry and refuses to join in with the celebration. He’s envious saying that he’s always done everything his father ever asked of him and his father never did anything like this for him. The father goes out looking for his older son to ask him to join the party. But this is where Jesus leaves the story unfinished. We find we have our own questions and thoughts about the older son and his place in the family. Ultimately our reaction to those who have sinned and ask for forgiveness is important.
When we look at this story and see how each person behaves and reacts to one another, we’re left with this question as it pertains to our relationship with God: If we feel distant from God—guess who moved?
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!