At different times in my life, I have found myself relating to different characters in this story. I, too, have been the restless and impulsive son, the one who knew better than his elders, who thought he could make it on his own, only to be thwarted at every turn. I too, have been the resentful, follow-the-rules, brother, who could not believe that the universe seemed to be rewarding the disobedient and rebellious among us. I, too, have been the father, checking every day to see if the long, lost son (friend, colleague, parishioner) was starting to find their way back, eager to meet them morethan half-way.
More than that, I can relate to the message of this parable, as summed up in the final verse of a new-ish hymn, “Our Father, We Have Wondered” (ELW 606). “O Lord of all the living, both banished and restored, compassionate, forgiving, and ever-caring Lord: Grant now that our transgressing our faithlessness may cease. Stretch out your hand in blessing, in pardon, and in peace.”
Let us pray. Warm Father God, you watch and wait for us, running out to hug us long before we get to you. Make us as eager to reconcile with one another as you are to reconcile us to you. Amen.