Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Preparing for Pentecost 7

If preparing for Pentecost means being prepared to become the people of God, then it is good for us to remind ourselves of what kind of God we have. It is this God who acted for us on Pentecost, and in chp 7 of 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed we look — and we looked at this last Friday on this blog — at the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
I see three themes about the father, who surely images God, in this parable:
1. The Father risks — and I’m not getting into the recent debates here about open theism for this point is not that kind of “risk.” This father has an estate and he gives his youngest son the option — that’s the risk — to receive his inheritance early. This father gives his son the freedom to act as he wants … and I believe this freedom is inherit to how God treats us to this day. With freedom, as every parent knows, comes responsibility and risk.
2. The Father waits — this from the well-known exposition of the parable by Helmut Thielicke (which he called The Waiting Father). I do think this can be inferred, though we need to avoid sentimentality and melodrama, from the father seeing the son a long way off. Nor do I think understanding the yearning of our Father-God for the return of his children is at all absent from the theology of this parable.
3. The Father celebrates — the singular theme of the lostness parables is the joy of the parable at the resolution of the problem. When the sheep is found, the coin found, and the son found. God celebrates — a Celestial Round of Applause — when Eikons return to the God who made them and designed them to represent God and relate in love.

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posted April 1, 2008 at 6:30 am

forgiviness-acceptance-hierachy-identity. Parables, by the pleasure of God in the ongoing, finished work of salvation speak to us of necessity in our growth towards maturity in the Life of the Godhead as presented to us by the sacrificial outpouring of the blood of the Son of God in obedience to the Love of the Father as witnessed in the Holy Spirit.
Parables, God knowing our need (Just as with the lost son) are the seeds of intrests in relationship, which we value due to the mouth that spoke them. To me, they are a clearing of the fog on a window of a place where God wants us to recognize finaly that we are no longer needing to try to get in but are indeed there already by recognizing that the shed blood of Christ is of far more value than we ever could have imagened because of the worth God placed on Him.
Our Father want’s us to be one with Him more, and at least as much, as we want to be one with Him. Spiritualization, or religion can make us deny our crown of creature by the lie of “You will become as God”. The ever repentant self which is comfortable in the flogging of trying to please the image of the god, or becoming like god is as far away from the path that is straight and narrow as the same one who proclaims that he is god. Both have a relationship of abuse and both would be pleased to know that even their stand rides on the mercy and grace of whom they have to do with.
The parable of the lost son might speak to others differently for we are told to Love God more that wife, mother, son etc. in another some of us can glory in the fact that we know in what fathe’s bosom our head lies since we know that there is no middle road. No plan “B”. For we serve one of two masters since our “Nature” is to receive and posses.
The comforter, whom Jesus sent and is with us in this present moment, is our seal of deliverance and He persuades us to accept salvation as a present reality so that we can be even as He is. The survival of the fittest is mererly the mechanics of God since He is the Alpha and the Omega.
There is the offshoot of a former father in this world which we are not of and whom Christ dealt with on the cross. That father was “Sin” death himself, and his children still live in the lie that seperation with God can be Life and must experience the dread of missing the mark with their first choice, which, in freeeom was contrary to God’s ( silly as it may seem) first choice.

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posted April 1, 2008 at 7:38 am

The parable both forgives the younger son and holds him accountable: he is loved and accepted but his inheritance is gone, and the father says to the eldest son “everything I have is yours,” which says to me the father is not going to take the eldest son’s inheritance and split it with the younger. There’s joy, acceptance and a fatted calf but also consequences.

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posted April 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm

This parrable will never be the same for me.
I lost my oldest child when se ran away at the age of 20 after a disagreement (not even very serious) between the two of us regarding her lifestyle. She was a brilliant child in high school (15th out of 400), but could not complete her first year at University. When I confornted her, I knew I was taking a risk as I had seen the rebellion in her eyes. She left during the night and dissapeared for two years.
On Sunday night 13 February 2005 after church the door bell rang and in front of me stood my oldest child, the love of my heart. She was home. Only God knows how I waited and prayed and cried for those two years.
She settled, got a job and have changed jobs three times in the laste three years every time to double her salary. She completed her first year of studies and will do her second year per correspondence this year. She eats with us every Sunday, and every Sunday we celebrate. Every Sunday as we pray we thank God for our children and for being a family.
I came to know God as my Father and Jesus as my Saviour when I was twenty three years of age. After this experience with my daughter I understand how God risked, waited and celebrated for this Eikon to return to the the One who made Him. My prayer today is that I may be a worthy represetative of my Maker and that our relationship will be a ever increasing relationship of love.

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posted April 2, 2008 at 4:03 am

Attie, I am happy for you and your daughter and the expression of Love that you both are because of the “Altogether Lovely One.”
I see that you understand the “risk” and are able to wash Jesus’s feet with your hair because of His expressed love for you. There is a great lesson of intercession in your story. It is somewhat easier to understand the grieving for a loved one but for a stranger, one spitting on you, or even an enemy… now that’s family.
Diane, I’m pleased of your emphasis on consequences since bad choices and good one’s leave a wake of apparent construction or destruction. We all should have a great respect for consequences since Jesus in, the reality He is, Knew of His consequence of going to the cross and thereby considered it a joy going to the cross. I am so glad that we live in His consequences and not ours because we would be still looking for a price to be paid and would still be our own.
I am so glad for the wise merchant Jesus selling all His pearls for what he considered the pearl of great price. We are redeemed forever, His glory.

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Scot McKnight

posted April 2, 2008 at 5:45 am

Thanks so much for that story. See you in a month.

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posted April 3, 2008 at 1:10 am

Attie, Thank you for sharing your story. I have a similar one although I am still waiting for my beloved daughter to really return – in spirit and mind as well as physically. Like you, this parable is completely central to my notion of who God is.
Diane, I agree – God will always run to meet us and take us back but that doesn’t mean we don’t pay for our mistakes. We can start again but there are things we can never get back. But I have another take on the dutiful son. I have often felt very guilty about my son, who has been often neglected while so much of our energy and resources went into saving my daughter. I remember once, when my husband was out of town, I was coming home after attending to some crisis with my daughter and my son, who was 13 at the time, had fallen asleep on the couch waiting for me, a half-eaten pot of Kraft dinner and a big spoon on the floor beside him. He woke up, sleepily asked me how his sister was, shut off the lights, locked the door ,kissed me good night, and went to bed. As he was walking up the stairs, he said, ?You can finish off the KD?. I am sure that there are a lot of times he feels a lot like that older son, although he has never complained about it ? nor is he that dutiful;). One time I was apologizing to him for how things had impacted him and he said, ?It?s OK Mom, I understand. Besides I figure that sometime I might screw up big time and you?ll have to still love me.? This I think is the lesson and gift for the dutiful sons and daughters, when they hear this story. When we know that God in his extravagant grace forgives and embraces his most errant children when they return, we can be confident that his love for us, too, will never fail.

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