Theme of the Week: Out of Hibernation
Bible Verse: “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:31-32
Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-32
He stood at the end of the diving board. My eyes rolled a bit even as I smiled. In two steps he was airborne, then the splash. In a moment he came up, all smiles and my boys were laughing and cheering. “Way to go farfar! That was awesome!” Farfar is Swedish for father’s father. My dad is a fun grandpa. But there was something a bit incongruous about a nearly 70-year-old man acting exactly like his grandkids (whose multiplied ages barely exceed his own).
I used to watch my dad do a great can-opener when I (and he) was younger. Form, splash, all of it was impressive. But he’s not young anymore, and neither am I.
It reminds me of the parable of the Prodigal Son. While we can explore the meaning and identities of the prodigal and the big brother, and how we each embody both characters from time to time in our own lives, my dad and the father in the parable have a lot on common.
It’s not exactly true that you are only as young as you feel. With age comes wisdom and with that wisdom, perhaps some limitations . . . like staying off the diving board when you are nearly 70 (my dad actually hurt his ankle in the whole escapade but would say without hesitation that it was worth it). In the parable, the father ignores some age restrictions too.
When the prodigal finally comes home, the father sees him from a distance, scoops up his robes, and runs to meet him. From both a cultural and age perspective, this was outside of the father’s “proper” behavior. But that didn’t matter. The joy at his son’s return made the father disregard all conventions. Nothing mattered but embracing his son again. Kind of like the smiles on a 7- and 10-year-olds’ faces made the ankle-injuring jump worth it.
Jesus told the parable to help his listeners picture themselves. But in it, he also paints a picture of a God who is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to welcome home His wayward children. No matter how often I ask for my inheritance and leave to enjoy my freedom, God is watching and waiting for me to come up the road. When I do, He gathers His robes and runs out to welcome me home.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for always waiting and watching for me to come home. I confess that I sometimes squander all that you have given me in selfish pursuits. Thank you for embracing me with forgiveness and restoration. Help me understand what it means to live in your house.
Reflection: Are you far from the father’s house right now or near? Do you need to remember that God is waiting and watching for you to come home? Why not walk up the driveway today?
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