By Paul Zehr, a senior music and theater double major from Carthage, New York
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 (NRSV)
I imagine driving to a choir rehearsal. I’m supposed to be there by 9 a.m. I left late and, despite driving over the speed limit, I find myself next to an amusement park rather than the church I was intending. I made a wrong turn. I am lost.
As I turn around, I realize that I will be very late. I cannot change it. Suddenly, a great weight is lifted off my shoulders. I am lost.
Being lost scares us. But, perhaps we need to get lost. In this world of hard-and-fast schedules and instant availability, we need to get off the grid. Something needs to rattle us and strip us down. We need to get lost to find God.
In the prodigal son story, the son must leave home and waste his inheritance to realize the provision of his father. He must get lost. Then, stripped of his need for wealth and idle merriment, the son can return home in humility. He can return to God. And, like us, the prodigal son is welcomed into God’s presence.
During this Lenten season, we might find ourselves lost. Let us use this as an opportunity to simplify, to strip ourselves down, and re-connect with our Creator.
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 (NRSV)
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them. 3So he told them this parable:
11Then Jesus said, There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me. So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, How many of my fathers hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands. 20So he set off and went to his father. 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. 21Then the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. 22But the father said to his slaves, Quickly, bring out a robethe best oneand put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to celebrate. 25Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27He replied, Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound. 28Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29But he answered his father, Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him! 31Then the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But 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.