There was a man who had two sons….
                           —Luke 15.11

How easy it is to fall into a selfish religion,
a faith based on what we want from God.
One son says, “Give me my share of the property.“
The other says “You never gave me so much as a goat.“
Neither wants their father, just his stuff.

Selfish faith wants things, not relationship.
Both sons break their relationship, betray their kinship,
remove themselves from the family.
“Treat me as one of your hired hands.”
“I worked for you like a slave.”

To both of them alike the father leaves his home,
and goes out to his distant sons—
one geographically and the other emotionally,
but both of them having removed themselves—
and he invites them back in.

Sometimes it is a gift,
responding to “Treat me as your slave“
with “Put a ring on his finger.”  
Sometimes it is a challenge,
responding to “that son of yours“
with “this brother of yours.“
But always it’s an invitation to join the party.

God does not give us things,
God gives us relationships.
When Jesus heals people he restores them to community.

Let what you seek bring you deeper in
to your kinship with all people, and all creation.
It is only as kin that we can truly pray,
and that we truly receive.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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