Luke 15:1-3 One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, (2) the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, "This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!" (3) So Jesus told them this parable:
Jesus went on to say, "There was once a man who had two sons. (12) The younger one said to him, 'Father, give me my share of the property now.' So the man divided his property between his two sons. (13) After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country faraway, where he wasted his money in reckless living. (14) He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. (15) So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. (16) He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. (17) At last he came to his senses and said, 'All my father's hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! (18) I will get up and go to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against God and against you. (19) I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers." (20) So he got up and started back to his father. "He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. (21) 'Father,' the son said, 'I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.' (22) But the father called to his servants. 'Hurry!' he said. 'Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. (23) Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! (24) For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.' And so the feasting began.
Feb 14 2021
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
Maybe Valentines day is a good day to speak of
the foolishness of God.
as Jesus portrays himself and God
in the parable of the loving father.
And to understand this parable we have to allow ourselves to be born from above
or born again as Jesus put it. O.K?
When we do
all joy breaks out
because this parable is essentially about you and me and the love that won’t let us go
and the God who delights in us.
So why not on Valentines day when
hearts turn to love.
Because there is probably nothing that makes people
act quite as foolish as love,
loving, being in love.
Falling in love!
That time when times stands still
and you go crazy.
You become outrageously generous. Right?
And you do foolish things!
You float on air
your nice to your parents
they think you’re ill.
And as it says in the Musical My Fair Lady
everything takes on a different look
a different colour.
The world changes
it’s called the honey moon effect
I don’t know why
cause that sounds all kind of gooey and sticky
but there you have it.
Of course, we also say that the honeymoon is over
and then it’s just sticky.
You stop doing the outrageous exciting
and overwhelming generosity seems to go out the door.
Remember when your love interest said: Dear would you help me set the table – and
you went – wow – so exciting?
And human love is like that.
For a brief period of time
you began to experience
I’ll do anything for you
the divine love which is a shadow of God’s love.
Does anyone know what I’m talking about?
This is what Jesus’ parable of the loving Father is all about.
Dad the son says, I want you dead.
I don’t care about you
I don’t care about the community
Pretend your dead and I get half of the property
and I’ll have it now please.
And dad says – sure son. Whatever you want son!
But the community
the rest of the family
the neighbours are going – man, you are nuts. You are out of your mind.
Give the kid a swift kick in the butt
and chuck him out.
What he is asking for is ludicrous
it’s against all our customs
it is selfish ignorance and hatred for all that you as his father stands for,
and for all the rest of us.
But the father in Jesus story
says – it’s O.K.
I love my son so much that if that is what he wants
so be it.
The kid sells the property
takes off to, Jesus says, a far away country where he wastes his money
in reckless living.
He gets to a place where the money runs out
he looses the ability to pay
and with it the freedom to play.
feeding pigs. So hungry. Looks at the garbage the pigs are eating and thinks – man I
could go for a plate of that.
Then he comes up with a cunning plan!
I could be at home
and work for my father and earn money to pay him back.
Plus there is always food in the fridge.
So he works it out, I will play on my fathers sense of fairness.
I will go home
Father I have sinned against God and against you,
I am no longer fit to be called your son.
Treat me as one of your hired servants!
This is a con job!
He hasn’t repented
he hasn’t discovered what his father is all about.
He wants to eat!
By the way
Jesus religious hearers
understood that to be right and proper.
Confess your sin
but that’s not enough
promise to not sin again
and make restitution as well.
How many times have I heard Christian leaders teach that.
You have to confess, make restitution and then God will accept you.
It was part of the Jewish faith at the time,
but not what Jesus believed and taught.
And so the kid heads home
and here’s the thing.
The community don’t want him back.
They will beat him up.
The father should wait at home,
the son will be dragged before the father and the local
The older son will be asked to give judgement on the kid.
At best he will be given a slave or a servant’s job and he will spend his life
trying to pay back what he took from the father.
Plus, he will no longer be known as the father’s son.
This is what the son knows will happen.
This is religious justice.
Then we read, the father saw him from a long way off
and ran to him and kissed him.
The father is already considered weak and
a bad parent
but now the father runs to his son.
Middle Eastern Fathers of status don’t run.
To run he must pull his gown up
and expose his legs.
Middle Eastern men of status don’t do this.
He wants to get to his son before the townsfolk do
but to do so he is making a fool of himself again!
Why – because he is passionately in love with his son.
No matter where you go
and how much you waste of God’s blessing
God will never stop loving you passionately.
The son isn’t expecting this outrageous, shameful display
The last thing he expects is that his father would run and embrace him and kiss him.
And when it happens and he discovers that despite what he has done
he finds himself in the father’s arms
and the father kisses him
only then, for the first time in his life
he discovers his father
and his father’s love for him
and the sons heart is broken.
Here’s a little extra. We can be in the church
the fathers house all our lives and not know the father’s heart.
In his father’s arms the son realise’s it’s not the money
that the father is worried about
it’s the broken relationship that breaks the father’s heart.
There is nothing the son can do to restore the relationship
only his father’s love can do that.
The son cries – Father I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.
What’s missing? Treat me as one of your hired servants.
He can’t say it. The fathers heart will not allow him ever to be anything other than a son.
And then loves gets more outrageous:
Bring my robe – the one I wear on special occasions
and put it on him.
Bring my ring which carries with it
the authority to act in my name.
And bring him shoes – he will not enter the village as anything less than my beloved
And invite the town to a celebration because I have my son back.
The son enters the village with the imprint of the father and the status of the father on
How does this happen? This is not religion
this is pure unadulterated love.
Real love, makes us do crazy things
so much more does God’s love for us
That kind of love
it’s called grace, is maybe what Valentines day is all about.
it is overflowing in abundance
it is joy and laughter
it is running through the streets with gown hoisted up
not caring what others think.
It is not calculating.
It is giving all for the beloved.
Happy Valentines Day!
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
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