Luke 15: 18-24
I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
Excerpts from a sermon given by Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, past General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Read the original sermon here
One of our most beloved hymns uses these biblical words to describe God’s amazing grace. Even if it sometimes is a bit too much to call ourselves a “wretch,” who has not found moments in life when we understand what that means – and realize that it could be anyone of us, me too? Then comes the message: You are still loved, still received…
God’s radically inclusive love particularly embraces all those whom society excludes or disdains: the poor, the migrant, the homeless, the prisoner, sexual minorities and those excluded because of their gender identification.
Hearing this story, we have no alternative but to share this message. We have no other mandate as church than to follow the example of the generous father, offering grace for free. Nobody should be excluded. Everybody, everybody has a place at the table…
This is the way forward. It is not a God-less world we are moving in; we are always in God’s world and in God’s care. This is the world that God loved so much that he gave his only begotten son for it. This is the world that still can be, and is, moved by love.
Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, God our Creator, Saviour, and Life-Sustainer, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
You encircle us, hold us, surround us, welcome us.
Yet, our freedom is enriched by your embrace.
At your table, we are heard, supported, understood and nurtured.
Yet, we never tire of sharing with you.
You enfold us with love, kindness, forgiveness and patience.
Where ever we travel, whatever we journey through,
Your welcoming presence comes to greet us.
We remain forever loved by you.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 24/03/2022
This reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.