Sunday, April 3, 2022

Homecoming Party - Luke 15

 Homecoming party

Tony E Dillon Hansen


Sermon based upon Luke 15:11-32, Psalm 126, Psalm 32


Opening prayer


This familiar parable about two siblings may be Jesus is retelling the story of Israel via the fight between Esau and Jacob over birthright. Who will win? Who will be angry? 


This is ultimately a homecoming party because God celebrates finding those who are lost.


It concludes Luke 15 that focusing upon finding the lost: sheep, a coin or family. This story is not just about the prodigal one.


In this parable, we can see examples of the people in our own lives today (which is why the Bible is a living text).


You have two different people: one who works and toils and one who is lavish and reckless; the person who save versus those who squander (those who do all the right things vs do not.) The Ant vs the grasshopper.


Remember in Luke 13 when Jesus was asked about the people suffering in Siloam. People thought, “Ah poor them; they must have done something to deserve misfortune.”


Luckily, there is the third person, the parent figure.


Still, the question that gets raised. Who is more deserving of God’s love? That question begs transactions for God’s love. This for that - give my work, obedience to get God’s love. Simple easy and very deceptive. Because it pits us v them.


Do what God says to get God’s love. Nice. How many of you are perfect? Those who have never sinned can throw the first stone.


Maybe there is a fear of losing or we get less of what we are entitled by sharing and welcoming? That reduces God’s love into something we give, which is in of itself disposable and small because it limits God to our terms - to stinking thinking.


God’s economics don’t work like that. God’s love is so much bigger, more forgiving than we can imagine, which is what we need and in the moment - forgiveness and reassurance. When we feel so unworthy and broken, God is running to cover us and kiss us. God is there to deliver us and wash us free from our sins. 


There is a lesson here for us parents too. Let’s teach to bless the stones instead of casting them.


For You who have done the things that God asks, be grateful that God blesses you. (Ps 32) “Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in God. Be glad and rejoice, o righteous and upright in heart, shout for joy.” God’s love surrounds those who trust -whereever we are on life’s journey. 


God’s love is not constrained by frail human brokenness. God’s love is there for us in abundance (a harvest of joy and celebration) for who have been fortunate , for who hope is restored, and for who are lost. God has done great things for us and we rejoice. 


For we who are lost, God restores you so that you too may shout for joy. (Ps 126)


Maybe the question is: Do you have faith to believe that God’s love is truly big enough for all? Or Is God’s love, blessings and even this church are just for only those who have done the necessary? Think of the words we say to start worship every Sunday. God is equally welcoming to all. Let go of all your toils, and all you think you are entitled. Let go of your misery and be found. Run to God’s extravagant welcome, God’s love - for all God’s children


Fortunately like our last lesson about the farmer and man talking about the fig tree, God gives us - the tree - more chances even though broken people may not.


Make room for God to flourish and to welcome. Let yourself grow in that welcome. 


When the prodigal brother comes home, the parent throws a party. God is throwing a homecoming party and invites all to attend, especially you. You the sinner and unworthy, You, the person away toiling in the fields, it is time for you to come home too. It is time to celebrate the homecoming of God’s family. The question for you is, would you attend?


Thanks Be to God!

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