Our Devotion for Friday, February 24th, is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'
Luke 15:32 NRSV
LOST, BUT FOUND
Merriment abounds for the prodigal and his return. Even the fatted calf is on the menu. Yet the elder son is a party pooper, criticizing the father for this extravagant celebration and having nothing to do with the once-wayward brother. The elder son is actually the lost soul here. While physically close to home, he has distanced himself from the family. He characterizes his own life as that of a slave. But the father wishes him so much more – sonship, not slavery; family, not self-isolation; rejoicing, not gloom. The Father’s compassionate heart finds us where we are – lost and alone. The Father reaches out to us, even welcomes and pleads for us to come home. The feast of the fatted calf, the symbol of Christ’s own willing sacrifice, means that there is great abundance and joy, and no prodigal or any lost soul will be left out in the cold. Come, join the celebration!
Jesus uses the parable to offer archetypes of those who have pushed away from relationship with God, (the prodigal son), and those who have remained in proximity to God but have not understood the heart of God, (the elder son). Jesus uses the parable to communicate God’s unmerited grace and forgiveness for those who have willfully gone astray and return. Simultaneously, Jesus challenges those who have simply maintained proximity to God but have missed taken on the character of God. To the later, Jesus offers the parable as a moment to clarify the purpose and nature of their relationship with God. Whether we are new to faith in Christ, or have been connected to Christ for decades, the parable seeks to broaden our perspective on God’s unmerited grace. I invite you into a time of prayerful discernment, to discover which metaphorical son describes where you are spiritually, and to allow God’s grace to heal and transform your heart.
Father, when we are spiritually dead and lost, you make us alive and call us your children. Enrich us in the joy of your extravagant grace and mercy. Amen.