Lost and Found

3-10By Andrew Shields of Independence, Missouri, USA

… “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”

—Luke 15:29–32

Facing broken relationships is risky and difficult business.

The arrogant young man left his family and quickly spent all his money, ending in poverty and shame. It took courage (spurred by need) for him to return to his father to ask for a servant job. The elder brother dealt with the aftermath of his younger brother leaving, taking wealth and his father’s pride with him. It took courage for the steadfast brother to push past his pride and indignation to accept his wayward brother.

The father was most badly hurt–his own son wanted wealth more than a father. He too faced barriers before he could accept his son back: his culture, his rights, his pride, his image as his son’s teacher. All these barriers stood in the way of accepting the ungrateful wastrel back. As Jesus tells the story, all these barriers together could not restrain a father’s joy as restoring a relationship with his lost son.

Part of being Christian means cultivating a relationship to God that lets us feel the joy God feels when even the most obnoxious of God’s children are restored to right relationships. Part of our relationship to God is gratitude, which extends into right relationships with the force of God’s love behind it. Restoring someone to right relationships means getting beyond the past and reflecting a fraction of God’s love back to one who was lost and now is found.

There may be reasons you might not want to forgive those who have broken their relationships with you. None of them is good enough when a loved one repents and returns. God sets the example with us, and we live it out into the world. That’s a big part of what it means to represent Christ.

Prayer for Peace
God of grace and reconciliation, may we respond as the good parent who welcomed a wayward child. May we, like the good parent, rejoice in finding a right relationship with an estranged one. May each relationship in our lives be formed with this Divine love. From this love, may we go out and share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Healing and Reconciliation
Gather a small mound of stones, Meditate on the stones as symbols of differences and destructive acts that continue to separate and wound the human family. Name and anoint each “stone wound” with a drop of water or scented oil. Offer them to God in a prayer for healing and reconciliation.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will get past the past and get reconciled.

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