Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lost and Found

But 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.But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 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 15:29-32

I am very good at losing things, and less skilled at finding things misplaced. When I was in grade school, I was a frequent visitor to the lost and found box in our class room as well as the one in the school office. Everything from notebooks to clothing and everything in between would be in those boxes. Prized possessions of some one, neglected and left behind probably by accident, in some childish rush to be out of school and on the way else where. I would like to say I out grew my ability to lose things, but as an adult, I am just as skilled as I was as a child. Something distracts me and I lose track of an item I was carrying.

We read the parable of the prodigal son today as part of our Lenten Sunday lectionary. At times in my life, I thought this parable was about how good God is to those of us who lose our way. At other times, I have focused on the relationship of the older brother and the father, thinking this parable is about how those who are constant and faithful have all of God's love and gifts. And yet today when I read it, I realize the parable is about neither son. It is about the father, about the love of God, which is bigger than our imagining, and which want to celebrate the returning prodigal, the constant elder child and the richness we have as a family of God. We are poor and lost, only when we sever relationships. God aches that we would celebrate the love we have in God and one another every day.

This fourth Sunday in Lent, I want to focus on the generosity of God and God's desire for us to rejoice in the love we have been given. We are abundantly blessed and yet we often focus on what we lack. Today I want to focus on what we have in abundance - love and relationships of support and faith. May we all take a moment today to give thanks for the love that showers down from heaven, on good and prodigal children, on the lost and the found, and on all of us despite how much we resent what others might seem to have.

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