Have you ever thought about God as being prodigal? That was the topic for discussion this week at Ecclesia. When we look at the "Parable of the Prodigal Son," it can give us insight into the larger narrative of all of scripture (Genesis to Revelation). Jesus is essentially summarizing the Old Testament through this story, then turning that interpretation on its head. If you missed it, check out the entire message here. Then, take some time to think about the following questions:
I don't know why, but I love thinking about the story of the prodigal son and prefer to think of it as though "Prodigal" was the family's last name. There's Baby Prodigal who wastes the family's inheritance on "riotous living," Elder Prodigal who wastes his father's love by exchanging his father/son relationship for one of servanthood, and Papa Prodigal who just seems willing to waste his love on anyone and everyone in the family, regardless of how they humiliate him.
If you missed this past Sunday's message, check it out here. As we said on Sunday, the invitation for this passage is to move from our identification with the younger brothers to an identification with the father. We are to become the father, ready and waiting with open arms to receive prodigals that have returned home, not with the demands of justice, but with an abundance of mercy.
As you think about this story, ponder the following questions:
The wonderful power of Jesus' parables is their ability to be polyvalent. Now, that is just a fancy term meaning that they can have multiple meanings. Depending on where you are coming from, you will encounter each parable in a wonderful and unique way. The hope is that as you look deeply at these stories, you begin to catch a glimpse of yourself. you begin the process of moving beyond reading the Bible to letting the Bible read you.
As we have looked at the "Parable of the Prodigal Son" throughout the month of September, I hope that you have been seeing yourself reflected in some of the different characters of this powerful story. If you missed those sermons, click on the sermon tab in the resources section above and take a listen. After you do, please take some time to reflect on the following questions:
The Younger Prodigal (Sept. 5)
The Elder Prodigal (Sept. 12)
Each week, I am providing a series of reflection questions for discussion in one of Ecclesia's Formation Groups (an "after-party" from our Sunday morning celebration, if you will). This past Sunday, I shared a message on Jesus' saying, "I Am the True Vine" which ended with a series of questions that I suggested we needed to answer as a church (if you missed the message, check it out on the media tab above and click on "sermons"). Those questions were:
Feel free to think about those questions and respond with a comment below.
Ecclesia Writer's Consortium
We are blessed at Ecclesia to have a number of gifted writers and teachers. Here, you'll find devotions, meditations, and musings from a sample of those writers.