In Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells us an incredible story about forgiveness and love.
He tells a story of two sons and one son decided one day that he was going to leave his father’s household. He demanded that his father give him his share of the inheritance. Reluctantly the father did.
The son took that money, that inheritance, and he went away to a foreign land and he blew all of it. Imagine it, tens of thousands of dollars, blowing it on partying, drunkenness, prostitutes.
After the money had run out the son found it very difficult to find any sort of work. The only job he could acquire was feeding pigs and eventually he grew so hungry that he even wanted to eat the food that the pigs were eating. At that very low point he realized to himself that the servants in his father’s house had it so much better than he did there at that farm with those pigs.
He knew there was no way that he could go back to his father and ask that he restore him as a son, but maybe just maybe, his father would take him back to become one of his servants. So that son headed back to his father’s home.
The father saw his son from a long distance out coming back and instead of having that attitude that we might imagine a father to have: “here comes that worthless son of mine, crawling back to me. What does he want now?”
Instead that father responds in love and he runs. He runs to his son on the road as he’s coming back to him and that son, even before he can get his entire apology out, “father I have a sinned against heaven and against you. I don’t deserve to be called your son.”
The father embraces him, he hugs him, he kisses him, he puts a ring on his finger, and a cloak on his back, sandals on his feet. He calls that they they kill the fatted calf and have a great celebration.
Why? Because his son who was dead is now alive. The son who was lost has now been found.
This is an amazing picture of God’s infinite love for us. We think about ourselves in our own lives how grievously we have, at times, sinned against God. Feeling we don’t deserve to be his children, but God reminds us that we are his children. He has marked us as his very own in Holy Baptism assured us that we are his. Forgiven our sins. And that promise to us does not change. No matter what we have done, he invites us like that son, to come back to him. To repent of our sins and to receive his gracious forgiveness and love.
This is the unending love of our Father. Amen.