27 May Sermon Snap Shot May 26, 2019
A younger son brashly and rudely comes to his father and demands his inheritance. “Father, give me my share of the estate.” This request would be akin to the son saying, “Dad, I really wish you were dead! But since you aren’t, give me my inheritance so I can get the blank outta here!”
The loving father, certainly hurt by his son’s request, gives the son what he wants. Not long after that, the son packs up all his stuff and heads out for the Las Vegas or “Sin City” of his day. While there, he squanders his wealth in wild living – gambling, drinking, carousing. You name it, he did it. One day, he wakes up in an unfamiliar place, in day old clothes, wreaking of the smells from the night before. Searching his pockets, he discovers that his cell phone has been stolen and that his wallet is empty. His bank account had also been drained. He was broke…but not yet broken.
He hears about a local farmer outside of town who is hiring and says to himself, “I know. I’ll go make some quick, easy money on the farm! I have lots of experience managing people on my dad’s farm back home.” But, of course, he discovers that the farmer is not hiring people to work in management. The farmer is hiring people to do the common, day-to-day, back-breaking work that farming requires…and that the younger son had really never done before.
“If you want to work for me, start with feeding the pigs,” the farmer says. The younger son thinks to himself, “I can’t feed pigs…I was raised to avoid pigs and pork at all costs!” But hearing his stomach grumbling, he resorts to feeding the pigs as the farmer requested. By now, he’s not only broke…but he’s pretty much broken as well,
As the days progress and his hunger persists, he begins to crave the food scraps that he is feeding to the pigs. And then one day, he has an epiphany and comes to his senses. It dawns on him that his father’s servants back home actually have better lives than he now has.
So he decides, I will return home. I will beg for forgiveness from my father. And I will ask to be hired as one of his servants. He has now reached rock bottom. Now totally broken, the younger son begins to make his way back home.
As he makes his way home to ask for forgiveness, the scene shifts to the father who is on his front porch…waiting patiently for his son. He looks toward the horizon. Something that he had done, hour after hour, day after day, since he son left.
And then, while he was still a long way off, the father sees this figure, walking down the road. It’s his son! And the father’s heart is immediately filled with compassion. The father begins to run toward his younger son and before the son could even utter the first word, the father embraces him and kisses him.
Finally, the son speaks those words that he had been rehearsing the whole way home. “Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But by now, the father has already moved on. He instructs his servant to bring one of his best robes, one of his rings and a pair of his sandals. He calls for another servant to crank up the Bar-be-que. And the father announces for all to hear, “It’s time to celebrate because my son – the one who was dead is now alive. The one who was lost has now been found. Let’s all rejoice!”
What I love about this story is that it captures beautifully the God that we worship, celebrate and seek to serve here at Waters Edge.
Not a God who seeks revenge.
Not a God who is out to catch us doing something wrong.
Not a God who keeps score or celebrates when we crash and burn.
No, a God who waits patiently – day in and day out – for each and everyone of us to “come home.”
From Sunday, May 26 message based on Luke 15:11-32, “Waiting Patiently”
Rev. Lane Glaze
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC