Lost.. and found
Parables are like mirrors – we look at them – and think: there I am! And even if the parable of the lost & found son contains elements of melodrama, it also has moments in which we can recognise ourselves in the mirror.
We all know that family life can be bumpy at best. TV dramas like Outnumbered or The Simpsons only reflect this.
The family in Luke 15 is not much better – both sons dissatisfied with their lot – the younger runs away, the older grimly & sullenly bears it.. and Jesus allows the story to play out amid other stories of being lost and found in Luke 15 (this at the heart of the gospel which is for the least & lost).
Asks three questions of us:
Who is lost? Is it those who run from God’s love, who are outside the church? Or is it those inside, like you and me, like the older son who are lacking in grace?
Who is waiting? The Father seeks, or rather is waiting for the son, the father is filled with compassion, will not listen to his carefully prepared excuses – simply covers him in robes. We too need to know that God longs for us to draw close – as Isaiah 43 puts it “I have called you by name, you are mine”
Who are we? Perhaps we identify with one of the sons (though this story may not be easy to identify with – all the characters are male and the fathers role is problematic in many families. Better perhaps to focus on the characteristics of compassion, patience and gratuitous love that are offered to all who want to return to love). We all struggle with our sense of being lost, and long to be found by love – this is the heart of the good news: before we can begin to speak, love has found us with compassion in Jesus Christ who tells this story.