Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. If you are like me, you need help in pulling away from the helter-skelter of daily life. So let’s take this moment and focus together on the love and peace of God. Let’s take a breath, take a seat, and take a moment to turn our minds and hearts to God.
This week’s scripture story is about the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32) and it’s probably one of the best-known of Jesus’ parables. Having heard it first as a child, I aligned myself with the son who decided he could strike out on his own, then loses everything given to him by his father and he returns home. Have you ever been in this situation?
Humbly, the prodigal son comes down the road, no doubt rehearsing what he will say to his father – meekly asking for forgiveness and a place as a servant to the household. He completely submits to acknowledging the patience, wisdom and love of his parent. When the father sees his son in the distance, he drops what he is doing and runs with open arms to greet him. The father doesn’t seem to care about his son’s words of contrition; he just rejoices at his son’s return and sets about putting together an elaborate celebration. Imagine the son’s amazement at being received like this. Have you ever felt welcomed with a joyful hug filled with love?
Perhaps we do an injustice to this story by calling it the story of the Prodigal Son, because this is really the story of the Unchanging Love of the Father. This is a love that doesn’t care about what happened in the past. This is a love that flings open its arms before hearing words admitting wrong-doing. This is a love that is always ready for the return of one he loves. This is the love of God for all of his children. God is ready with open arms and all we must do is turn towards him. What magnificent, unconditional love, and it is ours to receive. All we need to do is turn towards God and God comes running with open arms, greeting us, loving us, and enveloping us in his arms. Close your eyes and imagine this overwhelming reception.
The scriptures tell us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Even when the helter-skelter chaos of daily life pulls me in multiple directions and the presence of God seems to fade – I must remember that it is I who is drifting away, not God. Even when I feel guilty that I find myself wandering on directionless paths, making poor decisions, and becoming focused on mindless games and materialistic things – I must remember that God is ready to forgive unconditionally and in an instant welcome me back.
So don’t let your tarnished life ever keep you from turning or returning to God. You don’t need to do anything but turn to God and God will see you and rejoice. Allow God’s love to make a home in your heart, and then with God’s love inside you, you will find a new life, ready to reach out to others.
Dear God, our loving parent who stands ready to receive us with open arms. We come in awe and wonderment of your amazing love. We cannot comprehend how your love can be so unconditional – your grace so unending. Humbly, we seek you. May our minds and our hearts be always open to your spirit. May we take this faithful love and spread it out wherever we go. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.