Readings: Psalm 75,76,23,27, Romans 5:9-11, Luke 15:11-32 – Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son
Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son shows us that reconciliation for God goes beyond just forgiveness. Were it just about forgiveness, the father would have accepted and forgiven the wayward son and allowed him to work as a servant on his farm. That would have been “just” as it was all the son longed for as he knew he ran from and rejected the relationship with his father and family. But the father goes beyond forgiveness: – “his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
The father longed for embrace, not just a restoration of the relationship that had been, with all its shortcomings, but a full loving relationship like never before.
-How do you relate to the character of each of the sons and the father?
Journal activity: when have you felt so distant from God that you couldn’t imagine being in a relationship with him, and accordingly, settled for:(his word, his teaching, religious activity, even service to others)
- Imagine what it would feel like to be embraced by God, have him whisper to you how much he loved you and was so delighted in you – write about how that would make you feel.
Remember: God embraces his enemies (us as sinners)in a supreme act of love, and the nature of this loving embrace is that to fully receive it, you have to extend it. Just as to receive the full power of God’s forgiveness we must be able to extend that forgiveness to others, so likewise to receive the full embrace of God requires that we extend our arms in embrace to our enemies. God doesn’t want acquaintances, he wants lovers - “He is the lifter of our head” - Miroslav Volf – Exclusion and Embrace