This weeks Gospel Reading. It’s the story of the Prodigal Son. We know the story. I’ve heard the story over and over and over again. I’ve told the story over and over and over again. I like this parable, a lot. Jesus gives the remedial lesson in love that God the Father gave to Adam and Eve in the garden. He speaks to the scribes and Pharisees in such a prophetic way that we can continue breaking open the word, gnawing on it, mulling it over, allowing it to become part of who we are so that we might be more of our authentic selves. We may need healing, a reminder or a good swift kick…oh never mind that.
What did I notice tonight that I’ve missed in this story before?
Why does it have such an impact on my heart tonight?
Because I’m open to hearing it, ready to see it.
Trust. My very favorite story of trust comes from when I was in my early 20’s. I remember sharing this experience with a few people at the time and it getting pooh poohed and that having an effect on me. I took care of some of the kids ranging in age from 3 months to about 4 or 5 years. This one afternoon I was loading kids into the van to take them somewhere. They listened very well so I could leave them on the top step while loading the kids in. The last kid jumped, leaped right into my arms in a way that told me he trusted me. I can still see the great big grin and look of sheer joy on his face, almost 25 years later. This to me pretty much summed up love and trust in one fell swoop. If this kid didn’t trust me that leap never would have happened. I think this is how we should be with God. I think this is how God wants us to be with Him.
As I read and listened tonight part of what I noticed is that the younger son, while he is a bit of an ass at times, trusts his father’s love enough to go home – even if it is just as a servant – he knows he’ll be safe there, even though there is no further inheritance available to him. All that’s there, at home, is his fathers love. He KNOWS he can trust this. There is no question. It takes him a while to get there, he’s gotta get through some stuff. But he trusts, deeply.
The older sons reaction has always befuddled and irritated me. There’s always been under the surface that made me a bit unsettled and until tonight I didn’t see that he does not trust his fathers love, at all. To have this realization tonight was just strange, it was not at all what I expected to hear as the Word was broken open. Not At All. He also doesn’t trust his brother. And truthfully who can fault him at all for that? I certainly can not.
As I processed this bit of information I thought about a couple of things:
1) stained glass and how it’s made – the glass needs to be broken and pieced back together in some way to achieve the beauty and image that is intended
2) a mosaic – again something already beautiful needs to be broken – fractured, fit back together and joined in some fashion to achieve something beautiful
3) patchwork quilts – fabric needs to be cut up into smaller pieces only to be rejoined to create something beautiful, functional and useful
Broken – we’re all there to one degree or another. It’s important to trust that the brokenness is useful to God. And in my head right now I hear that all important, “yeah you’re one to talk, you’re not trusting God to work these situations out.” And there is truth in that. Fear and distrust does some funky things including eroding the trust and faith already in place. The older son suffered from the effects of jealousy and fear. And sometimes so do I.
In quilt making this happens too, a lack of trust in ourselves in our abilities causes us to hold back. It’s true, it happens. Fear causes us to think we can’t make the quilt we’ve always wanted to make or our quilting isn’t good enough to enter the big shows or that as a teacher we’re just not quite good enough. The truth is when we are in the midst of holding onto fear and doubt there are friends we can turn to, we can turn to God in prayer. God always provides.
Hold onto trust. Quilt your heart out. Trust.