Reader: “When he came to his senses . . .”
Response: “he got up and went to his father.”
Scripture: Luke 15:17-20a
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
What was I thinking! Have you ever said that? When we first wander off the path, it’s hardly recognizable. We used to live in Seattle. We drove to the farm in Illinois every summer. There was a point in eastern Washington where the interstate highway I-90 splits. We could go straight and go through Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota or choose to make a slight veer to the south and a day later be somewhere in Nebraska, hundreds of miles to the south of where we might have been. At the time of making the split, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it did set the course for the next several days. When the prodigal son left home, all he could see was wealth and good times ahead! It was a much more exciting road than sitting around home! The chosen path, however, became bumpier with more rocks and ruts. Finally, the ruts became more like a grave with open ends. A person immersed in sin is living outside of their true self (Romans 7:17-20). If you are in fantasy land or on the wrong road, turn around! (Just to clarify, it is not a sin to drive through North Dakota, though it apparently is if you are doing 90 mph…there is nothing out there… another story!) The seed of humility in the son we mentioned yesterday began to grow. As he moved toward his true self, he recognized his sin against not only his earthly father, but against heaven itself. This is key. Like King David, he realized his sin was first against God, his heavenly Father, and then against his earthly father. All sin is first and foremost against our Creator. The prodigal repented, and went back to the place where he got off track. Home. Notice how much more there is here than a simple “I’m sorry, dad.” There is a complete attitude and heart change. A complete change in direction. That is what happens in true repentance. Where is the path you are on taking you? You are on a path to somewhere.
Music: “Goin Home” Dvorak Sissel The song of every prodigal. Don’t skip this!! Sissel does a beautiful and sensitive recording of this classic. Terrific singer. I know you heard this song yesterday, it’s worth hearing again in this rendition. Trust me!
Fix thou our steps, O Lord, that we stagger not at the uneven motions of the world, but steadily go on to our glorious home; neither censuring our journey by the weather we meet with, nor turning out of the way for anything that befalls us. The winds are often rough, and our own weight presses us downwards. Reach forth, O Lord, thy hand, thy saving hand, and speedily deliver us. Teach us, O Lord, to use this transitory life as pilgrims returning to their beloved home; that we may take what our journey requires, and not think of settling in a foreign country. ―John Wesley, 1703-1791