Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate. ‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked
what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “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 15:11-32
1. Do you remember setting out from your parents’ house for the first time? What was that trip like?
2. Have you ever felt like the younger son? Wishing that you could go back to the way things used to be? Or have you realized that the grass isn’t always “greener on the other side”?
3. The Father in this parable is so excited to see his younger son come home that he runs down the road to meet him and put his arms around him, maybe even before the younger son realized what was going on! God is like the Father in this story that “even while we are still far off, God is full of compassion and runs to meet us and put his arms around us.” How have you experienced God’s forgiveness in this way?
4. The older Son is angry with his Father and his younger brother – have you ever been angry at your siblings? How have you worked to overcome grudges and disagreements?
5. The older Son also is told by the Father, “everything I have is yours and you are always with me…” often times we miss the part of being part of God’s beloved community and all that is God’s is ours as well. How can we remember that we too, have been given everything that the Father has?
6. Where did you see God moving in your #SabbathWalk this week?