Sunday, February 3, 2013

On Being Born a Second Time.6

Hear this lesson: 
A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father: "Father, give me my portion of the inheritance." Without questioning, the father gave him his share.
Not long afterwards this same son gathered his possessions, and journeyed to a far country. There he squandered his wealth with reckless living. When his last cent was gone, a terrible famine swept the land, and he was left destitute and without friends.

Finally he found menial work tending swine. In his desperation, he was about to eat the corn husks reserved for the swine. Then, coming to his senses, he thought: My father's servants have more than enough bread, with much left over; while I am about to eat the swine’s food to save myself from starvation. I will return to my Father and throw myself on his mercy. 'Father,” I will say, “I have wronged you and heaven, and am no longer worthy to be your son.
Let me at least be one of your hired servants.'"
So determined, he rose from the dust, and began the long voyage home.
When he was still a great way off, his father saw him in the distance, and having compassion on him, ran out to meet him and embraced him tenderly.
The son began his confession. "Father,” he wept, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son."
The father did not let him finish, but turned instead to his servants and said: "Bring out my best clothes, and dress my son. Put my signet ring on his hand, and my finest shoes on his feet. Select our fattest calf from the field, and prepare it. Let us feast and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and now is found."

Then began a great celebration.

Towards evening the elder brother returned from a day working in the field. As he drew near to the house he heard music and dancing. Summoning one of the servants, he asked: "What is the purpose of this celebration?"
The servant replied: "Your brother has returned home; and your father has killed the fattest calf, because he has returned safe and without harm."
At this, the elder brother became very angry, and refused to take part in the banquet. Even his father begged him to join in the feasting.
Stubbornly, he refused, and said, "Behold all these many years I have served you, never breaking one of your commandments. Yet you never offered me feasts to celebrate with my friends. Now my prodigal brother wanders
home, who has no doubt wasted his inheritance on prostitutes and wine, and you kill the prized calf and celebrate!"
To this, the father replied: "My son, you have always been faithful to me, and you know that all that I have is yours.
But it is proper that we celebrate, and give thanks this night. For your brother was dead, and is alive again, was lost, but now is found."

A friend says she always reminds her children that they are free to choose their behavior, but they are not free to choose the consequences!

Sound advice!

Did Jesus come to save us from the consequences of our behavior?  Or did he come to work with the consequences--the attendant pain & suffering of bad choices--to work His Father's will in us?

More to the point of Jesus' story: When does your boy become your son?  When does a little girl become a true daughter to her mother?  When do the children, born in the image of their Creator, born with the capacity to hear the words of Life eternal, born with will to will the Father's Will become reborn to a true Son or Daughter of God?

"His children are not his real, true sons and daughters until they think like him, feel with him, judge as he judges, are at home with him, and without fear before him because he and they mean the same thing, love the same things, seek the same ends." GMD