It might be hard to believe that even thought we’re going to spend, by the end, ten weeks in worship talking about the same story, there’s still more to say about it, but… there is. Here’s a bit about the parable of the father and the two sons (Luke 15:11-32) from Barbara Brown Taylor that doesn’t really fit nicely into any of our Sundays, but it’s too good to not share.
She notes that the feast the father calls for is grand, and generous, and meant for way more people than just a family – the directions for preparation indicate he’s hoping for a really big crowd, and he’s going to treat them, feed them, entertain them, well.
That this is more than just a family meal is strategic on the father’s part – his honor is compromised, and his son returning in this way (hungry, begging) doesn’t do the father any favors. Now the town will disdain both the son who left and failed and the father who enabled him.
But before they can throw their judgment around, the father throws his doors wide open. He meets their critique with kind-ness, silences the harsh words ready on their tongues with his own words of welcome. By throwing this party, he not only reunites the son with the family, but the community with itself. Taylor writes, “His son’s salvation costs him almost as much as his son’s abandonment of him in the first place, yet he never says a word about the price.”
… I wonder how we might reach out, in our own (at times) divided wider community, and offer a similar kind of invitation and embrace, one that serves as a reminder that wherever we’ve come from, wherever we’re going, we belong to one another. It’s possible to make that truth something worth celebrating, feasting around, don’t you think?