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Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32, Prodigal & So Much More

Key Verse

Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them.
— Luke 15:11b-12

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, March 31, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Main Idea: It is not acceptable to Jesus to lose even one of God’s children.

From many of Jesus’ parables, we can learn as much about the one who lost something valuable as about the thing that was lost. A shepherd lost a sheep, a woman lost a coin, and in today’s reading, a father lost a son. In each of these instances, the one who lost something valuable became persistent and relentless in their search for the lost thing. (Even the father, while not actively looking (where should he have looked, anyway?) dropped everything to embrace and welcome the son who returned home.)

It is not acceptable to lose 50% of their sons, or 10% of their coins, or even 1% of their sheep. Every single lost son, coin, and sheep was valuable to the one who lost it. In the book of Luke, where the welcoming of the Gentile (non-Jewish) community was clearly a theme, these parables underscore the importance of every single one of God’s children being welcomed into God’s community. None is more or less important than another.

A word on the “prodigal” son: studies have suggested that in dysfunctional families, the black sheep of the family is often the healthiest of them all. All the other family members learn their place within the dysfunction and dutifully perform their roles as defined by the family system. The black sheep is often the one who does not buy into the dysfunction. In their attempt to break free of the dysfunction, they are perceived as “the problem.” Like the individual items hanging on a baby’s mobile, when one family member changes their behavior, the whole mobile is rocked off balance. It kind of makes me wonder if the “prodigal” son was perhaps trying to break free of a family system that wasn’t working for him. Prodigal or black sheep, he was welcomed back with open arms (at least by the father – the other son, not so much). Maybe family systems haven’t changed that much in 2000 years. Thank heavens God is the one welcoming us into God’s home!

 

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Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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