Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Jos 5:9a, 10-12
2 Cor 5:17-21
Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

He came back. That’s what matters, he came back. Yes he ran off, living a life of dissipation, wasting all of the gifts he had been given, throwing away the inheritance that was his, the inheritance that would keep him safe and well. But, in the end, he came back. His life certainly could not have sunk any deeper into a morass. Living among Gentiles, he was caring for pigs, watching these unclean beasts live better than he was living. His only hope? Throw himself on the mercy of his father, accept whatever retribution was his due, then work like a slave to repay in some small way all that he had thrown away. He had to have been afraid, he was certainly ashamed, but in the end, he screwed up his courage and he came back. He came back to find a father waiting, waiting for his return, wanting nothing more than to have his son come home, no matter what he may have done. He came back and that was all that mattered. All the rest was forgiven, none of it mattered any more, because he came back, he finally came back.
How many times in our lives do we find ourselves in that position, ashamed, afraid, wanting to come back, but uncertain of the welcome, if any, that we will receive. We have been given a great inheritance that all too often we simply throw away. We throw it all away and we are sure that we are lost forever. So we stay away, sinking farther and farther into the morass we make of our lives, certain that we cannot, will not, should not be forgiven. We are afraid and ashamed and we stay away, until, until we realize that we have no where left to go. To quote the poet/songwriter Paul Simon, “Here I am, Lord, knocking at your place of business, I know I ain’t got no business here. But you said if I ever got so low I was busted, You could be trusted.” We’re low, we’re busted, and despite our fear and our shame we turn to our God, and ask to come home, ready to pay whatever price. And all God says is “What took you so long?”

Deacon John
4th Sunday in Lent
March 18, 2007