No matter how old you are, or how close you might live, there is nothing like a return home. I know when I get the chance, it turns into a wonderful event, filled with good food, conversation and a gathering of family. I think about all that I have put my family through over the years, the hardships, the burdens, the worrying, the separation. Yet, no matter what, I know that when I go home, I will be met with love and warmth, of which for a long period in my life, I truly did not deserve.
In some ways, it reminds me of the Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son. The youngest son, in Jesus' story, sets out away from the family to experience what the rest of the world has to offer. In a sense, I get that he wants to spread his wings, doing his own thing, go make a way on his own. I get that. He finds, however, like most of us, that the grass isn't greener on the other side. That life isn't easier away from your family. And, just like my experience, when he went home he was accepted with arms wide open, was shown how much he was loved and even had a party thrown for him.
Isn't it ironic how upset the older brother, the one that remained at home, got when the lost brother had returned home. I wonder how many times this happens in daily life? I wonder how many times it happens in church life? Think about it. When a person, who knows Jesus, who lives a good Christian life, strays from the path, what happens? Is his return celebrated, or does he remain an outcast?
I think, because I have been there, that many times it is hard for "the family" to accept that the "lost son" has changed, has returned to his faith. This, I feel, is a reason so many God-lovng people never make it back to a church family.
In Matthew 15:31, Jesus says as part of the parable, "My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours."
I love this text because it reminds me that no matter how far I may stray, God is always there for me. And as the Creator of everything He has set it all there for me when I am ready. Not some, all. Thank you God for your abundance which is mine, even now. And thank you for letting a son return home.