“Bring the fattened calf and kill it.
Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;
he was lost and is found”
We have looked at the fact of God delighting in His children and His joy over the lost sheep who is found again. The full extent of that joy of perhaps best expressed in the story of the Prodigal Son.
Having insulted his father by demanding the early payment of his inheritance the younger son had left home, squandered his inheritance in wild living and was now dragging himself back again to seek forgiveness and help. There was nothing about him that could possibly have merited anything other than a frosty and bitter reception.
However, Jesus paints the picture of the father – who represents God – searching the distant horizons and longing for a glimpse of his boy. When eventually he sees him he does not wait in a forbidding and silent stillness. Instead he throws his dignity to the four winds, runs and embraces his son and, without waiting to hear the apology, demands from his servants the best robe, sandals and the ring of status and authority. Then he calls for a special party to celebrate the safe return of his son. The past is forgiven and forgotten – all that matters now is that they are together again.
For all His might, majesty and power this is the longing in the heart of God for you and for me. He wants us back again – back with Him where the past may be forgotten, the present celebrated and the future provided for. His heart, His home and His holiness are open to us. This is where we belong and where we will thrive and become complete. This is what the Cross achieved for us.
Imagine dragging yourself unhappily and guiltily back to God and being met by a thunderbolt of love that engulfs you in its arms and wets your cheek with tears of joy.
O Father, open my heart to the wonder and reality of Your love foe me and help me to believe, receive and rejoice in it. Amen.