I am reflecting on Jesus’ parable of what is known as “The Prodigal Son.” I wonder if a major point the Lord really conveyed to us is of the ‘older son.’
The older son had his pathway established. When his brother returned it upset his plan, his vision. He would have to make room now for his brother. He would have to share. He would have to stretch and make room for him beside his father, his home, his way of life. He would have to make room for his brother’s unique gifts.
The father came out to remind the older son of the love and gifts he had given him and in which would continue to surround him. Therefore, could he now ‘welcome home’ his brother? Could he again truly ‘receive’ that love (ie, come home) and then open his arms to one now in need of a home? For his brother needs a warm welcome not from just a few, but the whole community.
I would gently challenge us: when someone enters our doors, are we intentional about making room in our groups, our programs, our homes even? Do we receive their gifts which may one day birth the answers to our own prayers? Are we closed and not open for new life? Are we robbing ourselves? Are we weary and need to ‘come home’ again? Further, are we 'shutting this new one 'out?' Do we notice or are we jealous?
We don't know the end of the "Prodigal Song" story. But we do write the end of it through our choices.
“Real Community builds Home. When you are in Community, you know you’re Home.”*
As I travel my experience is varied. Some communities truly excel (where I am humbled & taught) while others may need some excelling. Regardless, I pray that we will let in the unconditional love of God, so that His Presence can fill us. May we welcome home an old or new friend, regardless of their past, background, experience, style or expression. May we be curious of them only in a way to provide space, give, love, and pray.
God has brought us a gift, a new life and a new reason to praise Him. May God’s true story of redemptive love through Jesus’ death and resurrection, be life-changing for all! May we become the “House of Love!”
Songs related to this topic are on the CD Coming Home
*"Intimate Community" - by Kathleen Fowle. Book published many years ago, now out of print