Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Introduction 

Think of a time when you’ve been unexpectedly, generously, undeservedly forgiven. I remember a dreadful day at university when I hurt my closest friend. Nadine was from a Pentecostal Christian tradition, and I, in a hamfisted attempted to “defend the faith,” told her all about the theological errors as there were abundantly clear to me after twelve years or narrow-minded schooling. (Lucky for me, no one was in the room at the time to point out mine!) This “correction” caused my friend a great deal of pain, since I patently rejected her sincere walk with Jesus. I retired to my room feeling curiously awful about being very “right” about God. Thank God one of us understood something about the nature of Christianity. Later that evening, Nadine sought me out and put her arm around me. We both cried together about the spirit of self-righteousness that had made me willing to forsake our friendship. You don’t make that mistake twice in a lifetime. When you understand the love that’s yours in the arms of God, you won’t leave home again.
When have you felt like the prodigal son, undeserving of his father’s love? When have you been the selfrighteous brother, unwilling to welcome the wayfarer home?
Lent is the season to get right with God and others. Only you know the places where your heart is broken. Sometimes we need to reconcile with people who have died. It’s never too late to forgive.

The Scripture (Luke 15: 1-3, 31-32) The Parable of the Lost Sheep

By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats with them, treating them like old friends”. Their grumbling triggered this story… “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours – but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!”

The Reflection

In one of those ubiquitous Peanuts cartoon strips, Lucy is chasing Charlie Brown around and around the house. “I’ll get you, Charlie Brown, I’ll get you!” Suddenly Charlie Brown stops. Lucy comes to a screeching halt. Charlie Brown says: “If we, who are children, cannot forgive one another, how can we expect our parents, who are adult, to forgive one another, and in turn, how can the world …” At this point Lucy punches Charlie Brown in the nose and knocks him down. Turning to a friend who has just come up, Lucy explains: “I had to hit him. He was beginning to make sense”.

 The Commissioning

Respond to the love of God!
We will trust unfailingly, we will learn carefully, we will listen deeply, we will share generously, we will resist temptation confidently, we will repent wholeheartedly, we will celebrate joyfully, we will respond to Jesus daily.
God will strengthen your resolve, God’s blessing will go with you!

GPBS © (2022)

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