Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe-the best one-and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate….Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. -Luke 15:20-25, 28
The story of the prodigal son deeply resonates with my resistance and longing.
I am the self-righteous brother who thinks love is something I can achieve or earn. I am tempted to label others’ worthiness based on what they have or haven’t done. I find myself humbled as I am confronted with sacred abundance that says to each one, “There is always enough.” Whose presence do I struggle to accept at the feast of unfathomable love?
I am the son who wants to do it on my own, squandering blessings, ending up in my own field of pigs. When I have finally exhausted my own ideas, agendas, or resources, I remember that pulsing longing for a spiritual home. Lent is a season of returning to the One who is the source of our lives. With humility, confession, and great desire we set out on the road for our true home in God.
My deep yearning is to embody the love of the One who waits expectantly on the road with open arms of unceasing love. Imagine if we all greeted each other in this way. Imagine if we believed so deeply in the inherent worth and goodness of one another that we stood eagerly in the road to welcome each other home. God invites me to release my judgements, resentments, and doubts about my own and others’ worth. Divine grace does not first require that the son has learned his lesson before he can come to the feast, which is a relief because I seem to be a slow learner! Again and again, we return to God. All we will hear is the voice of extravagant love, greeting us with incomprehensible openness, “Welcome, welcome, welcome!”
Hold this sacred image in your heart as you walk this Lenten journey. May each humble practice of release be a step closer to the wide embrace that is always waiting for your return.
We are one in Christ.
Week Six: Discover
We live in an uncertain and exciting time. The Spirit is yearning to be incarnate in new places, ways, and forms. In a recent address, President Veazey proclaimed that the “future church already is being born.” How are you invited to discover the new life that is already emerging around us? What might it look like, in preparation for conference, to cultivate a posture of curiosity and discovery as we seek together where the Living God is at work among us?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.