We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ – Luke 15:23b-24a
Luke, chapter 15: A widow loses a coin, a shepherd a sheep, and a father a son.
All three grieve. Something of value has been lost, and there’s agitation and frustration until restoration.
Jesus talked about and embodied an agitated God. That’s really the heart of the gospel. The God who created you doesn’t rest until you “come to yourself” and allow yourself to be found. Hiding like a coin, drifting like a sheep, running away like a teen: to stop resisting is to start living.
The reality, though, is that our lives are always about hiding, drifting, running away in some fashion. We open ourselves to Jesus’ invitation to follow him. There’s celebrating. But then we still hide, drift, or downright run in some fashion.
The Christian life is working to limit God’s frustration and maximize God’s celebration. In yielding humbly and honestly to Jesus’ spirit, pushing and nudging, we enable the “Father” to keep the kitchen stocked and the band ready.
Footnote: Maybe the greatest joy in God’s heart is to be a welcoming, grateful son or daughter, unlike the prodigal son’s older brother. To act like the elder son is actually to hide, drift, or run away from the “Mother” who desperately wishes for us a full, complete, restored, reconciled life.
Can we be as happy as God in reaching out to and welcoming the hiding, drifting, running away? Without judgment or condition? With full acknowledgement that we know what it’s like to be lost? That we also know the unspeakable joy of being welcomed home, just as we are, regardless?
Every accepting of those different from ourselves, and every protest for equality and justice: that’s our way of helping God celebrate.
July’s “Book of the Month” Selection
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is a timely book exploring the injustices found in our legal system as well possible points of grace. You can read more about it here.