“There was a man who had two sons…” Many know, immediately, the story that will follow, and those who know the story may have already identified with one of the characters. This week, listen to the story from the perspective of one of the characters – either one who is included in the story or one who was likely there but whose story has not been told. Mike Riddell in The Prodigal Project uses the story to talk about new ways we might be church for those who are moving or have moved away from the traditional, institutional church. It may be painful but useful to reflect on church communities divided over disagreement over theology, biblical interpretation, church doctrine, or who does the flowers. The story can be reflected on from the perspective of the church and the way churches react when there are disagreements or people move away and then want to return. How welcoming are we when folk have fallen out with the church community and need to find a way back? How might you facilitate a spiritual homecoming for those who will come to worship this day?
Sometimes we can find ourselves lost and alone, feeling cut off from God’s love and from the goodness of life. Like the so-called prodigal son, we may think that we can go crawling back, begging God’s forgiveness, and hoping against hope that God might at least allow us a little something. What a joyous surprise, then, that God – like the parent in the parable – runs to greet us and surrounds us with an embrace of love and compassion. Take a moment simply to revel in the greatness of God’s love for you, and for all people.
- Name examples of God’s love for you and your faith community that have helped you during difficult times.
- This week, how can you be an agent of welcome or reconciliation and share God’s radical welcome with others?
- This Sunday during worship, greet a visitor to your church or someone you don’t regularly talk with.