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Lent 2017 Week 4

THE WAY HOME

By Rev. Jennifer Pick

"You can go to the party as you are, as long as you don’t insist on staying that way. The father’s banquet is for the reconcilable,

thrown for anyone who will come."

—Barbara Brown Taylor

"While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him...

...My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we should be glad and celebrate! Your brother was dead, but he is now alive. He was lost and has now been found."

—Luke 15:20, 31-32

Todd Pick, 2017: "The Way Home"

Image: "The Way Home" ©Todd Pick, 2017.

PILGRIMS ON A JOURNEY

Reading the parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15, we can sense there’s something not quite right about a willful, ungrateful, selfish son who is given much more than he deserved; who is lost, and then having squandered it all is welcomed home with a party.

There’s something not quite right about a self-righteous, strong-willed, seething son, who works day in and day out to be worthy of his father’s love; who is lost in his anger and inability to celebrate a homecoming reunion, to rejoice in the dead coming into new life.

There’s also something not quite right about a father who overindulges his younger son; who runs in such an undignified manner to embrace the walking talking source of pain and embarrassment for his family; who is lost without both his children restored to right relationship, under one roof.

There’s a lot that is not right—not fair, actually—about this story. And there is a lot of lost-ness to be found. Lent gives us time to examine the causes of our own broken relationships, our own hardness of heart, our own unwillingness to see our faults… all the ways in which we, too, are lost.

It is up to us to decide if we will continue going our own way, or if we will turn and re-turn to the Source of Life. It is up to us to decide if we will stand outside the party all alone being right, or if we go inside to celebrate the movement from forgiveness into reconciliation. We must decide if we will take our place at a table full of both prodigal and imperfect brothers and sisters, united only by our relationship to one loving parent—one who refuses to give us the love we deserve, but cannot be prevented from giving us the love we need.

The good news is that grace isn't fair. If it was, then it simply wouldn’t be grace—a gift that costs everything to the giver and nothing to the receiver. The good news is that God's wastefully extravagant grace invites us to see life as a banquet meant to be shared. Embracing us with reconciliation and rejoicing, it's the pathway which invites us home, allowing us to cross from death into new life.

The good news is that no matter who we are or what we've done, no matter how far we are from what God is calling us to become, all are welcomed home by the prodigal grace of our Loving Parent.

​PRAYER FOR THE JOURNEY

God of second chances, we confess that we are prone to wander. We struggle on the paths we've chosen, not realizing that you walk with us wherever we go. Help us to understand what true confession is: acknowledging that we stumble as we try to live the life you call us to live. Lead us through the rocky wilderness of our hearts into your open arms offering new life.

God of new beginnings, allow us to receive and give forgiveness as we come to you today as lost sons and daughters. Pick us up, embrace our hearts, clear our sight. Remind us that broken, we are made whole; lost, we are brought home; empty, we are filled with songs of gladness.

Through Christ our Way, so let it be.

"MY GRACE

CALLS YOU HOME"

By Rev. Todd Pick

Willfully choosing, we seek our own way

Clammoring and claiming, greedily grab our fair share

Take the life we’ve been given, start running away

No thought for tomorrow, no real concrete plan

We know what we want (we know it all, in fact)

Ourselves at the center, go on seizing today

Wherever you wander, wherever you roam

My love will hold you, my grace calls you home

Lose ourselves in ourselves, let destiny unfold

Blindly seek out greener pastures

With wreckless abandon see the world

Keep wandering wayward while wasting it all

Learn that life—precious life—can be squandered

Gifts freely received can be difficult to hold

Wherever you wander, wherever you roam

My love will hold you, my grace calls you home

In a far away land, laid lower than low

The bottom drops out and we come up empty

Stop running, find no place else to go

Wasted and spent we come into our senses

Come into ourselves lost, hungering body and soul

In the wake of shattered dreams, hear a whisper,

an echo...

Wherever you wander, wherever you roam

My love will hold you, my grace calls you home

Running, you meet us, arms stretched wider than wide

The road rises up spirals us back to reunion

Stuttering our sins, you interrupt our confession

Offering reconciliation, blessed forgiveness to guide

A gift freely given we cannot earn, win, control

In the end, it's prodigal love—wasteful and wild—which abides

Wherever you wander, wherever you roam

My love will hold you, my grace calls you home

Lost sheep prone to wander, lost child running scared

For those undeserving, the least and the last

For us, each one, all: Grace, boundless grace!

Without reservation, without fairness or limitation

Love beyond our imagining calls the dead to new life

What was lost is now found! Join the party prepared!

What would change if we saw all life in You

A lavish banquet meant to be shared

Wherever you wander, wherever you roam

My love will hold you, my grace calls you home

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