One must think a bit about the role of the father in Luke 15 on Father’s Day. What a fool he must have seemed when he agreed with the outrageous demand of his immoral, irresponsible son. How could a loving father let his son get away with such outrage, to insult not only his father, but all that’s good and right. He should beat the son, not give him his way, his money.
We have no clue as to what the father was thinking as the son walked away, laughing in his newly acquired freedom. There’s only silence. What was in his heart as his younger son "unsoned" himself and disappeared? Unlike the shepherd or the woman in the previous parables, he made no move to seek out his son. He let’s him have his way. It’s like the LORD who calls His people to come to Him, but let’s them do incredibly stupid rebellion.
He lets us have control of our own life, at least some of the time. He gives us the freedom we demand. And then we Him for letting us have our way, but only after things go badly.
But when the son comes to his senses and returns, things are completely different. The father again shames himself, running away from all dignity to meet his returning son. The son’s repentant confession is cut short by the father’s joy, his request to return as the lowest level servant cut short by the joyous celebration. There’s no waiting for the expected respectful address by the son. The father’s embrace, kiss, call for ring, robe, calf express his heart. The father is so full of joy that he drapes himself around his lost son’s neck and welcomes him back with hugs and kisses of affection. Rembrandt catches the amazing quiet of the father’s embrace for the re-sonned son.
The LORD will embarrass Himself to get to the sinner who is coming home. You are my son. Always. Were gone/now here. Lost now found.
It’s the lavish grace that ruins the expectations of all religionists. But that’s another story.
We celebrated Father’s day with Joy’s 6th birthday party. It was so fun to see her enjoying her very own Chuck E. Cheese party. You can see more pictures here.
Catharine Coon arrived from Uganda to join me in teaching the "Theological Principles for Ministering to Children at Risk" class. She’s the founding director of Hope Alive!. We have been great friends. So teaching together is very stimulating for me. It will be the third time we’ve done the class. You can see that we are working very hard at our preparation for class.
It’s made a bit more challenging because of the continuing impact of the cellulitis infection. It’s been four weeks now. The reddened area keeps getting smaller, but it’s not gone yet. Back to the doctor tomorrow.