Lenten Reading for March 16


The parable concludes.

Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, ˜Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.”  Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, ˜Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, ˜Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”(Luke 15: 11b25-32)One of the reasons that churches frequently struggle is that we who make up the church often identify more readily with the elder brother than with either the younger son or the compassionate father. We have tried to do the right thing — do our duty. We haven’t snubbed our nose as Dad, nor run off to the far country to squander our inheritance on riotous living. We’ve been responsible.

And yet there are these resentments we carry around, and this absence of joy.

The parable concludes in such a way that we who are listening are compelled to write the ending. Will we accept the father’s gracious invitation to come into the party and enter into the joy, or will we stay in our misery and hold on to our resentments. (It really doesn’t have to be this way.)

The choice is ours.

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