Where the Heart is - Reflections 3-2-16

 Texts for Sunday 3-6-2016

 Joshua 5:9-12
 Psalm 32
 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
 Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32

 This Sunday’s Gospel is Jesus’ parable of two sons and their father. It is a familiar tale; almost too familiar. There are many paintings, sculptures, dramas - even novels - created on this story through the centuries since Jesus’ day. I feel like I have heard it all before. It is hard to step outside the story again and try to hear what it says this time.

With parables, the meanings shift as you repeatedly read them. They are not fables from which one gets a clear “moral-of-the-story”. You don’t explain parables (this=that therefore thus is so).  You live or experience parables.  In this particular story, you probably recognize all three characters. At some point in your life, you’ve undoubtedly experienced all three characters, or you’ve been all three characters. And in your experience, somehow or the other, you meet God.

So this is a story about relationships with the twists and turns that go into relationships. What do you hear and see in this story? 
I heard and saw: greed; carelessness; cruelty; unflappability; regret; scheming; self-interest; longing; welcome; patience; fortitude; pure joy; forgiveness; jealousy; petulance; and above all love. 
What meaning do I sense? 
Get over yourself already! Ever heard of gratitude? How about humility?
You are missing a great party because you are trying to make a point? 
Or : you will sacrifice your own wholeness on an altar of self-righteousness?  
Again: Gratitude? Humility?
Really? You can love these hurtful and selfish jerks?

In the midst of all that, God stands with open heart, and smiles.

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, March 6 for more ways to reflect on these texts. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please use the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245