Tuesday, March 31
Luke 15:18-19 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.”
Being born in the early 50’s I was brought up in the church. We went to church every Sunday and had those big after church Sunday meals, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes with homemade biscuits and gravy. My parents were often involved in activities during the week, and I tagged along with them. I attended Sunday school, believed in God, and knew about the history of the church and rules for being a Christian.
But being a child of the 60’s as I approached my final years of high school and college I began to drift away from the church. I was soon living away from home and beginning to doubt what role God played in everyday life. In fact for a short period of time I even began to doubt there was a God and at times proclaimed myself an agnostic.
I was blessed not to materially lose everything like the younger son in the parable above; but nevertheless I was lost. I lived in that condition for a few years before a neighbor at a party asked me if I knew Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I stumbled through an answer to satisfy him, but in reality that started a self-examination process, similar to the Lenten season. It was a time of repentance like the younger son in the parable, as I admitted that I had sinned against God. I had turned my back on Him and denied Him. It was also a time of realization that Jesus Christ had been born, suffered, died, was buried, and resurrected, so that I and all people could have eternal life with God.
Similar to the full parable in Luke 15:11-31, the result of my repentance and acceptance was the same. My Heavenly Father was waiting for me with His arms wide open. He was ready to throw a party and celebrate my return home. Each Lent I try to remember my feelings, thoughts, and tears when I knelt at His cross for the first time, realizing the price God paid to call us back to Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, each one of us has at some point separated ourselves from you through sin, whether in thought or action. Help us, Lord, to remember that your love, grace, and forgiveness are always there for us. Help us, Father, to confess our sins and turn back to you. Help us, Lord, to always return home when we are lost. Amen