Hearing our own part of the story, nay, all of the story as entirely our own story, and in fact the story of our friends and our own family members should change us. Can we hear the different lessons of the story as we hear the same story recited in a different way: not a different message, but the same.
There are tremendous cultural incongruities in the story: the father running, the absence of the kazzaza ceremony, the presence of grace instead of anger for justice. The father offers a steep cost of love for both sons.
Jesus leaves the story open ended…. Perhaps so the listeners would be the ones to decide how it ends.
Is beliefs in Jesus legalistic or fatalistic?
Is it either?
Entering into the story requires us to be responsible for what we see in the story with new eyes and with old eyes.
Are we all not the:
The one in the foreign land
We all seem to harmonize with the younger son, far less so with the older son.
Do we ever see ourselves as the Father?
After looking at how we each fit into the characters/roles in the story, how should it forever change us?
The story should help us put flesh on what grace looks like, a new frame around a familiar picture.
Is not the Fathers love stronger than our foolish pride?
I just want to hold my kids. Isn’t that what God wants us to do too?
The father doesn’t merely long for his children, he moves to lovingly restore them to what they were meant to be, despite their failings, regardless of their wounds and scars.