The son said,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.“
But the father said, “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.”
God is not bound by our shame.
The robe and ring are not merely gifts:
they signify family. Belonging.
You can’t unbelong from God’s family,
can’t be outside God’s intimate bond.
You always belong, always have, always will.
Run away; you are still God’s beloved child.
Come crawling back, poor of all but guilt;
you are still rich with God’s delight.
Delight, child. Beyond mere acceptance,
deeper than forgiveness: God’s utter delight—
reason for singing and dancing.
You belong, sealed, to God’s delight—
compassion, healing, gratitude and delight.
God has nothing but delight for you.
Repent of refusing God’s delight.
Your penance, hard as it is, is to come in and feast.
Your penance is to enter into God’s love and joy.