14th MARCH

Catching a glimpse beyond - reconciliation

Luke 15: 11 - 31

“. . . we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother os yours was dead and is alive again;  he was lost and is found.”

This is one of the passages that I look at with people exploring the faith and considering membership of the church.  I encourage them to look at it in relation to where they are on their journey of faith because it is story about just that.  I also invite them to look at the characters and see which one they relate to the most.

The son who goes off on his own is the main focus and we see him at different points in the journey:  the rebellion in going off on his own, the hitting rock bottom, the desire to return home, the anxious feelings of how he might be received and then the relief when he is welcomed with open arms.  The father is out looking for his son in the hope that he will return.  The brother’s nose is totally out of joint when his wayward brother is treated like royalty rather than getting a telling off.

It is a story of life, our lives and the life of faith.  We get it wrong at times. and we, like the son, can be tempted to go off on our own to follow our own agenda.  We can hit rock bottom and wonder how on earth we can face people again  Then there is the difficult journey back  home c and this where God’s story touches our own.  He is not only waiting for us to return to him, he is also actively looking for us.  Our heavenly Father is ready to embrace us in love to give us the biggest welcome that we could ever imagine.

At the heart of this story and key to our faith is reconciliation.  Jesus brings us into a relationship with God to enjoy friendship and fellowship with him. This relationship affects all of our other relationships in that, unlike the brother in the story, we should find ourselves actively welcoming other as God does.   The parable takes us a step further in encouraging us, like the father and our Father, to be bold and step out into the life of the world rather than waiting for the world to come to us.  At the end of Matthew’s Christ commanded us to “go out to all nations”.

  • What must it feel like to go to church for the first time or after a period of absence?  How might we make it easier for others?  What would it mean to you to step out and welcome in?

The arms that were outstretched on the cross

are the same arms that stretch out to welcome us in love into your family.

May we learn to be as open and seek opportunities to seek the lost

and bring them home once again.

AMEN.