FROM PASTOR’S DESK A song about the Prodigal Son returning to his father:
He ran to me/He took me in His arms/He pressed my head to His chest/He said, “My child’s come home again.” The words of a new song about an old story. The words of an old song about an eternal story. The words of a universal song about an eternal God who loves us all like children; even wayward or abstinent ones, and longs to have us in His/Her arms again: safe, happy, satisfied, loved.
Over Lent, we studied the Seven Last Words of Christ, and Lectionary Gospel Scriptures.
1.) Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing. (Luke 23:34) AND (Jesus’ Temptation) Worship the Lord your God and serve only God. (Luke 4:8) To be sinless, one must focus on God (the “bull’s eye”); Jesus forgave everyone, including you and me. To be unforgiving is to make that unforgiven one or unforgivable event into God, which means “missing the mark” (sinning).
2.) Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43) AND (Pharisee’s fear of Herod) I cast out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I will be perfected. (Luke 13:32) Jesus lived in the Kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdoms of the world, even on the cross. Politics did not interest Him; he was heading for the Resurrection.
3.) Woman, here is your son; Here is your mother. (John 19:26-27) AND (About those killed violently) Were they any worse sinners than [any others]? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you too will perish. (Luke 13:2) We have a God who is compassionate, not vindictive. Even from the cross, Jesus cared for his mother and his friend. We must repent of believing in a vindictive god.
4.) My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34; Ps. 22:1) AND (The Prodigal Son) his father…ran to his son (Luke 15:20b, 24) Jesus spoke Psalm 22 to teach that He was fulfilling scripture. He never doubted God’s love and presence with Him. He knew God was like the Prodigal Father; always waiting, always ready to receive Him home.
5.) I am Thirsty. (John 19:28b) AND (Mary of Bethany’s anointing of Jesus) the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3b) Being Human is not easy, many times because we neglect the spiritual aspect of being human. What we say, think and do have spiritual ramifications. But we have been given five physical senses with which to connect to one another; with which to love one another. Jesus was not afraid to die; dying is a part of being Human. We are all born; we all die. As He did, we must consciously choose what we say; what we pray for; what we think and do.
6.) It is Finished. (John 19:30b) AND (His Triumphal Entry) The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God… (Luke 19:37b). Endings are beginnings. One phase of a life ends; another begins. Jesus went into Jerusalem fulfilling Scripture, as His disciples sang and danced and praised God. On entering Jerusalem, He prepared for his death and Resurrection. He finished His Human course sure He would return, to lead us to a higher level.
7.) Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit. (Luke 23:46) AND (His Resurrection) Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5b) Jesus was and Is Alive always. He lived even in death; even in the Passion of the Cross; even in His Resurrection. The lesson from the Seven Last Words of Christ is this: He is Alive, and as He lives in us, we are alive, too. He trusts and knows God’s love for Him; for us. Let us trust God. Let us know we are Loved. Let us be Alive in Him.
The Prodigal’s father is our Father. Patient and forgiving. Loving and rejoicing. Let us turn back to God and repent of our fears and angers. Let us be alive, and sure of God’s love, no matter what.