Luke 15 is one of those scripture passages that is intertwined with my imagination. The grace found in the parable of the forgiving father is so integral to how I understand faith that I keep taking it apart and looking at the pieces. It is amazing how many ways you can look at a story that only has three main characters.

I read the parable recently and I imagined that it was this cyclical story in which the son that stayed was the son that left. The older son was the prodigal. He ran. He squandered. He returned penniless. And his father lavished love on him.

But as time went on, he forgot. He returned home, obeyed all the rules, and he forgot who he was. He forgot his father’s love. He bought into the lie that he was always the son that stayed. So when the story repeats itself, he if full of bitterness. Not remembering his own folly. Not remembering the grace that saved him.

And I wonder sometimes how often we are the younger-turned-older sons and daughters who simply forget. We think that we have always been the ones that kept the rules, when we need grace just like the one that shatters every rule ever conceived. I think that is what happens when Christians belittle those outside the church or look down at those crawling and struggling to find God. It’s an amnesia of the soul.

God help us to remember.

To Jim on His 4th Birthday

The Gandhi Critique