Prodigal People

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         While the younger son was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”
        He came out and began to plead with his older son, “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.”

                  — from Luke 15.11-31

The prodigal father extends love and blessing to both his sons. No demands, no qualifications, no judgments, no favoritism. He sets aside any judgment of either son, simply wanting to be in relationship with them. He loves them both, offers himself to them both, and invites both of them to share his joy.

If our Prodigal God is this generous, forgiving and inclusive, how can we be otherwise? If God declines to judge and punish, how can we? Jesus embodies God, giving himself for the sake of the poor, welcoming the outcast, taking his place among the condemned, offering nothing but love and life. And we seek to follow him, to be godlike in the same way.

Prodigal God,
grant us our share of your Spirit,
that by your grace in us we will be
lavishly loving and extravagantly generous,
extending blessing to all without prejudice.
We reject the labels of “sinner” and “righteous,”
for all people are your beloved, sinful children,
and our righteousness comes from you alone.
May we be like you in offering hospitality
to those who walk outside our ways.
Give us courage to hold fast to our mercy
despite those who want us to judge.
May we include all people as our family,
willing to leave our places of comfort and belonging
to welcome the rejected and the outsiders,
to be one even with the condemned.
May we take risks to defend the ties that bind us,
that make us one body in your grace.
In the Spirit of Christ, God,
make us your prodigal people,
wildly generous with your love,
and deeply joyful in your blessing. Amen.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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