Friday, 9 September 2016

Pentecost 17, the Prodigal Son Luke 15

Luke 15 :11-32

Th story of the lost sheep and the prodigal son are about who enters the kingdom of God, who is welcomed by God. And the answer is those who repent, turn away from what they are doing wrong and start doing what is right. This sounds easy but in reality is very difficult. 

The bad guys, the Pharisees have been complaining that Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them, so Jesus tells them the story of the Prodigal Son.

The younger son says "Give me my share of the property". So in these days before inheritance tax and care charges, - he separated, and distributed. Even then it was unusual to divide an estate between the sons before the father's death, but it is only a story. It is possible that the son is taking a share of the family property (one third) and foregoing his inheritance. The parable serves to illustrate the father's generosity, and leaves us wondering whether the younger son will show himself worthy of the father's trust. The root meaning of the word used for property here  is "life", but here the word is being used in the sense of "means of family income", that which gives life to the family.
  
Soon after the younger son cashed in his inheritance and went away to a far country and squandered his inheritance on reckless living.  He was  forced to work for a Gentile in a job that compromised his faith, and to feed pigs. He even ate the pigs food because he was so hungry.

He came to his senses because he was starving to  death. And decides to go back home to his father, and say to him " I have sinned against you and against heaven and earth. I am no longer worthy, to be called your son. I am like one of your hired servants."

He went home and even when he was  a long way off from home his father saw him or got news of his coming, and was filled with compassion for him. He ran to him, fell on the ground and threw his arms around him and hugged him. He put on him his best robe and gave him a ring and sandals, because servants did not wear sandals. He prepared a banquet in celebration for the lost son's return to the family, because his son was dead and was now alive. His relationship with his son was dead but was now restored. 
 
But meanwhile the older son is sulking and he comes home to hear this merry making, and he's consumed with jealousy and anger. The father goes out to plead with him and says everything I have is yours. But your brother is lost and now is found, was dead and now is alive. What do you think happened next? 
                              
  

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Dust and Ashes by Brian Wren

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