Archive for August 8th, 2008

…And Now Alive!

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 15:11-32 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Squire):

Yesterday we looked at the son in the “Prodigal Son” parable, which can represent anyone who’s ever felt far from God. But I think this parable tells us a lot more about God than it does about us — because, like it is so often in life, it’s not about us, it’s about God.

The first thing I notice is that the father didn’t try to make the son stay — he even financed the trip! That just doesn’t match up with some of the images of God I have festering in my subconscious. Somewhere along the way, I picked up a notion that God’s a bit of a jailer — using guilt and threats of hell to keep me in line. On reflection, I think those ideas came from some of the churches I’ve been part of — they could dish out the guilt, for sure — but they don’t reflect the character of God.

But the real shocker is the father’s reaction when the son returns. I think even the best human parents would say things like, “I was so worried — don’t you ever do that to me again!” Or maybe they’d say, “We’ll celebrate today, but tomorrow, we’re going to have a long talk. How do you think you’ll make up all that money you’ve squandered? We’re going to have to lay down some rules from now on…”

But God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) What we see from the father is joy that the son is well and has returned, and swift action to make things right again — as if the son had never gone astray. “He called for the best robe (a sign of position), a ring for his finger (a sign of authority) and shoes (reserved only for freemen).” *

If this story that Jesus tells us is true, then why do we have so much fear about coming (or returning) to a life lived openly in God’s presence? This reminds me of Psalm 34, where the songwriter said, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him!” (Actually, all of Psalm 34 is good if you’d like a different image of God.)

So instead of locking me up in jail, or scolding and guilt-tripping, God will throw a barbecue in my honor. I think it’s party time.

Prayer for the day: God, I want to live my life as your child, in your presence. Show me how to do that. Allay my fears. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

* This quote is from an article on wcg.org, written by D. Taylor. 

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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