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This story of the “Prodigal Son” is a well known story for most people.  We have heard it from a young age.  It tells the story of a father’s love and forgiveness.  And even more so it reminds us that no matter how far we might wander away from home, God welcomes us back with JOY.  

We heard on Sunday (in the Children's sermon as well as in the message from Pastor Erin) that this story might be better for us to understand if it went by a different name, such as “The Forgiving Father”, “The remorseful Son”, or maybe we could call it something like, “The Depths of Forgiveness”, because the father in the story must have spent days, weeks - watching and waiting for his son to come home.  We know this because we read that when the son was still a long way off the father came running out on the road to meet him.  He did this with no accusation, or blame, or complaint.  The full force of forgiveness is in this action.  Not only did this forgiveness have no strings attached, it showered the son with waves of love and joy.

Although I know we hear Gospel messages differently as we bring in our own life experiences, I was surprised this year to consider that this gospel lesson could be more about the feelings it elicits.  To invoke a desire to get to know a God who keeps welcoming us home.  No. Matter. What.

I think that might be important for us to remember.  God presents love to us and for us in extraordinary ways, some might say reckless ways, or extravagant ways.  However it is that we might recognize God showing us forgiveness and welcome, we can be confident that is it because God is waiting for us to come into our own faith about God being good and gracious, and loving us fully and completely.

May you know that God LOVES you.  No matter what…