Fourth Sunday in Lent

Jumping for Joy

Check out the downloadable Lent 4 mp3.

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Luke 15:11-32

The parable (or novella, in this case) of the Lost Son is one of the most familiar stories of the New Testament, even to those with no church teachings in their background. So it’s easy to pass over its many parts. The one that most touches me is the character of the father.

The younger son wants to go off on his own, with the inheritance that would be his on his father’s death. Not an easy thing for a father to do : you work hard to build wealth, hoping to enjoy a long life using it with your children. There’s a bit of a snub in it too : the son has to take it all now, as if he has no intention of coming back. So there’s an element of goodbye to it.

But the father longs to be with his son. He longs to have the relationship restored, to do fun things together, to perhaps even see grandchildren. And he watches the horizon down the road. Day after day. Longing. Hoping. False alarms: no, that wasn’t him this time. His servants must’ve been ready to go many times, with stoles and goodies and stuff to give the son. Yet well before the son finally does arrive, this old man is flying down the road, and the servants are left in the dust. The celebration is well under way when they reach the pair. I’m picturing the father babbling all over the place, overcome, blurting out greetings, family news, orders for the feast, and all those other things that say “Welcome Back”.

Father, thank you for being the kind of father who doesn’t begrudge the losses, but gives a hearty welcome for our return to You. Amen.

Bob Longman


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