|Theme:||God's love is unending and unconditional. Lent 4 C|
|Scripture:||"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:20 (NLT)|
Have you ever wondered whether or not God loves you? Maybe you have done something bad, like telling a lie, taking something that didn't belong to you, or maybe you disobeyed your parents. Does God still love you? To get the answer, you might play the "He loves me — He loves me not" game, You know how to play that game, don't you? You take a flower, usually a daisy, and you pluck out the petals one at a time and with each one you take turns saying, "He loves me. . . He loves me not." The very last petal you pull out is supposed to tell you whether he loves you or not. Do you think that is a good way to know if God loves you? I don't think so.
To show how much God loves us, Jesus told a story about a man who had two sons. One day, the younger of the two sons went to his father and asked him to give him all the money that would be his when his father died. The father agreed and gave the boy his inheritance. A few days later, the son packed all of his belongings and left home. He went to a far away country and there he wasted all of his money in wild living. When all of his money ran out, he went to a local farmer and asked him for a job. The farmer hired him and sent him out to feed his pigs. The young man was so hungry that even the food that he was feeding to the pigs looked good to him.
When the young man finally came to his senses, he realized that even his father's servants had a better life than he did. He said to himself, "I will return to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Please let me come back home and be one of your servants.'"
The boy began his journey home to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against both you and heaven, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
But his father called his servants and said to them, "Quick! Bring the finest robe and put it on my son. Place a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Kill the calf we have been fattening and prepare a feast. Let the celebration begin!"
The older brother was very angry and complained to his father. "All these years I have done everything you told me to do. Now my brother comes back after wasting all of his inheritance and you celebrate by killing the fattened calf."
The father answered, "My dear son, you have always stayed by me, and have done all that was asked of you, but we had to celebrate today because your brother was dead and is now alive. He was lost, but now he is found!"
Father, we thank you for your unfailing love. We are thankful that even when we go astray, you welcome us back with open arms. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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