Reading Luke 15:11-32 (NRSV)
Today we read a parable commonly called The Prodigal Son. But two more people appear in the story: the father and the older brother. For Father’s Day, my attention goes to the father.
The story gives us a snapshot of the relationship between the father and each son. The father stays loving and welcoming even as the sons break the bonds between them. The younger son takes his inheritance and leaves home; the older son stays close to home but holds himself apart. When the older son comes in from the fields and hears music and dancing, he does not ask his father what’s happening, he asks one of the workers. He did not share the father’s grief for his brother’s loss or joy for his brother’s return. He has never asked his father to join in hosting a party for his own friends.
The father does not force his presence on either son. To the one returning, he does not say, “I told you so.” To the one that stays, he says, “all that is mine is yours.”
Like that model parent, God does not force, but celebrates relationship with us. The love and welcome remain however we try to break the bonds between us.
Let us pray. Loving God, thank you for the strength of your bond with us even when we turn from you. Help us to share in your joy when others return to you. Amen.