A father wraps a faltering hand around the head of a beloved son and draws him into his chest. The son savours each moment – either because he never thought he’d get the chance to be here again or because he knows that one day it will all be taken away and never return.
It is a deeply personal story that some of us will know or it is the story of The Prodigal Son.
It is a reminder of the God who waits at the window – desperate for his tearaway child to return home or it is the story of Israel who finds herself in exile.
Either way, a father’s longing heart breaks as the child drifts a bit and soon he seems to forget who he is and what he is for. The image of the Father has faded until you can barely see it.
The Lord’s Prayer… Our Father in Heaven.
The father is faithful. As the son asks for the inheritance he, effectively, wishes his father dead and breaks the family ties (or the covenant if you’re reading the story of Israel between the lines) but the father remains faithful, patient, determined. Desperate for the chance to gallop up the path should the child come to his senses and into view.
To all who desire it, he offers the right to be children again (cf John 1)
The Lord’s Prayer… Hallowed be your name
When the homecoming BBQ is over and it is time to hang up the robe, the child is surely faced with a dilemma that the story doesn’t cover. How to respond.
The hand around the back of the head and the underserved embrace changed everything – grace does that. Honouring the Father’s name is what is required now. The child (this child, every child) may have forgotten who he is and what he is for but the Father never did. Because real Fathers never do.
The gospels go on to speak of another embrace (God’s arms outstretched like never before or since) which has restored the status and the resemblance and there is no turning back. The Father grants the right to be a child again.
And this is how the new creation breaks into the old. This is how light fights back the darkness.
The Lord’s Prayer…#ThyKigdomCome