"We are all invited to the party" with Nelson Weippert
LOVE –THE PRODIGAL SON Mar. 3rd. 2013
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Once upon a time
A student who loved playing golf. He used to spend hours in the backyard practicing his golf swing. Of course he wasn't allowed to use a real golf ball because that would be very dangerous so near to the house. So he used a practice ball hollow and made of light plastic with holes in it. You couldn't hit it very far and it could do no damage. One day he thought that both his parents were out and the house empty, and he longed for the feel of a real golf ball on the head of his club. Just this once wouldn't matter.
He teed up a real golf ball and swung. You guessed it he sliced his stroke and the ball headed for his parents' bedroom window. He heard the glass shatter and then he heard his mother scream.
He ran into the house and up the stairs to her bedroom. She was standing there in front of the broken window and she was bleeding. He started to cry and couldn't stop.
All he could say was, "Mum, what have I done, I could have killed you." His mother just hugged him and said through her own tears, "It's all right son, I'm all right, everything's going to be all right." What love!
His mother knew that punishment was not what he needed at this moment. He needed to know that everything was all right. Need I say that this young man never took a real golf ball into the yard again?
And this is NOT what most of us expect to hear. We visualize shouting—threatening and anger! But, God puts a DIFFERENT TWIST on how he expects us treats others -- when they get in trouble.
The teaching of JESUS always gives us practical applications we can use in our daily lives. In the well loved parable of the “Prodigal Son.” Jesus teaches us how to put a NEW TWIST to our family relationships.
Think of the father in today's gospel for a minute. Think of his pain. His youngest child - his youngest son has turned away from his family.
Whatever the reason - many of us parents can identify with the pain that the father must have felt; the pain - the second guessing – the constant worry -and the constant wondering...
- Will my boy or daughter make it? - Will he or she become a decent person? - Will he or she ever come home?
Here in the story YOUNGEST SON has flew the coup!
- He wasted his living in a foreign land and ended up going from bad to worse till - at last - he comes to his senses and flees homeward
-hoping he can put his life together again
- even if must be as a servant, for he knows that in his father's house even servants live better than does he.
The young man was in shock when was near home and saw his Father coming to meet him. His father was so happy and welcomed him back unconditionally. "Seeing him from afar, the father had compassion on him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. This was no sitting down to wait and see attitude.
Notice the rush of verbs that move rapidly FROM SEEING, TO RUNNING, EMBRACING AND KISSING.
*** A minister tells of being in a Greyhound bus station one night. There was an older lady who was going from person to person with a picture saying, "Have you seen my daughter? Have you seen my daughter? She is supposed to be on one of these buses." The woman came up to him and asked him her question. He hadn't seen the woman's daughter but he told her to check at the desk. She checked and they told her to take a seat. She waited and waited. Finally another bus pulled in. People began filing through the gate.
Across the terminal the woman spotted her daughter. She began calling her name. She also began RUNNING across the terminal, CALLING OUT her name-arms extended before her. He thought about how foolish she looked.
They met and EMBRACED and KISSED in the middle of the terminal. As he watched, he remembered a story. "A father had two sons...while the boy was still a long way off the father ran out to greet him." The greeting is the same. "Welcome home, son, welcome home, daughter. Let the party begin."
His father didn’t wait for an explanation, confession or promises! No, his father gives an emotional Welcome before the son can speak a word.
The son is given the place of honour and the father threw a BIG PARTY.
MANY OF US PARENTS CAN IDENTIFY WITH THE FATHER.
Today due to the recession many of our kids are coming back home. Some of you here this morning may have an adult son or daughter that is living with you after a few years trying to make a go of it in the business world.
Some youngsters have decided to leave before they ready—they take all their processions —you know the guitar-their dvd or cd player maybe their laptop and Ipod. Sometimes their bedroom furniture—and they are off to stake their claim in that big world.
Suddenly, with no fault of their own –no job—get laid-off—or quit before they find another.
Maybe your son or daughter has a MARRIAGE BREAKUP with no place to go.
Sometimes HEALTH ISSUES-CAR ACCIDENTS make it impossible for them to work, support their family and need help—sometimes there are grandchildren involved--a place to stay for a little while, to get back on their feet. We have all been there! And what do we do?
Parents go out of their way to welcome them back into the family home—clear out dad’s office—set up a new bedroom for the family in need.
Just like the father in our story—--REORGANIZE OUR LIVES—GIVE LOVE--USE OF CAR-provide daycare or baby- sitting—slip them some cash!!
We give them places of honour. OPEN OUR HEARTS –and HOME.
Everyone is enjoying the party, eating, singing, laughing and dancing, everyone except the oldest son.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SON IN THE STORY?
What about the oldest brother?
How many of us, I wonder, identify with him?
The older brother is like a lot of us.
He gets up and goes to work every day and tries to be responsible.
He feels it is expected of him.
So we can understand why he would be upset with his baby brother. I worked like a slave—never disobeyed- never had a party for me and my friends.
I’m sure some of us left the nest and need rescuing, while some who stayed home, became bitter over the deal they got.
I recognize there are some who live in despair thinking life has dealt them a bad hand—yet they have managed to live success lives-never earned a big salary, but enough to raise a family--have a roof over head–let’s face it we can always want more---but sadly these people feel they were not treated equally—they feel abandoned. Why should they come to the party?
The older son had trouble understanding his father’s LOVE was always there for him and he refuses to join in the festivities..
But his father GOES OUT TO GET HIM, tells him “SON, YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH ME, AND ALL THAT I HAVE IS YOURS” and tries to have him understand, HE IS LOVED, his brother was LOST and is FOUND, was Dead but now is ALIVE, so let’s us all celebrate.
As we make our way through life, we all become either the parent-the young son or the elder brother in the story.
We all starts out perfect and due to life experiences--some good, some bad, we fail to become who we think we should be, some fall away from the family and friends.
We need throw away the things that are blocking us from receiving THE ALL EMBRACING LOVE GOD IS ACHING TO GIVE US, ” even when we don’t deserve it.
STORY: My nephew was like this young man.
--Well raised by a single parent
--Had a good education Masters in Psychology
--2 marriages didn’t work
-suddenly disappears somewhere in Toronto
-not to be heard from for 4-5 years-
family searched everywhere
-He finally phones his mother
-family raise $ to bring home
--comes in old clothes no job-no $
“He was lost but now he’s home.” No questioning--no chastising- The family is mended! What did we do?
Family threw a PARTY for him—a big celebration.
Now he has a new life, found a job, made contact with his children all because of the love and support he received from his family.
For a period of time-it seemed that Jesus was lost.
---The powerful Roman rulers had won
----they had crucified Jesus
---- his followers discover the empty tomb
--- Jesus was lost.
But the story doesn’t end there!
The Wonderful thing is God is throwing a BIG PARTY –A LOVE FEST for Jesus-WHO WAS DEAD BUT NOW IS ALIVE—so let’s all celebrate.
This party started (3) weeks ago at the beginning of Lent, and will reach full swing on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the resurrection of God’s son- Jesus Christ.
Let all of us use the 40 days of LENT and prepare for THE PARTY. It will be a joyous occasion full of laughter, music, singing and praising
“GOD WHO LOVES and CARES for everyone!”