Sermon #43 — Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Itching for Something Else — Luke 15:11-32


“Nearly everyone who wrestles seriously with this [parable of the “Prodigal Son”] ends up with a sense of awe at its inexhaustible content.”  Kenneth Bailey

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 166...

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662–1669 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

Who is the Father that Jesus talks so much about?  What is he like and what does that mean for us?  This is the first of a series of sermons exploring this rich, evocative story of a father and his two lost sons.  In the face of the Pharisees’ rejection of “tax collector and sinners” (Luke 15:1-2), he tells this story.  It’s a challenging story for individualistic Americans to grasp.  Out of a society in which a person’s identity is defined by the communities he or she is part of, the web of relationships within which she or he lives, Jesus tells the story of a young man who asserts himself so as to sever his connection to his communities and tear away from the web of relationships woven around him.  Slashing and thrashing, he wrenches himself away, only to find himself expelled.

St. Augustine so wisely affirms in prayer, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and we are restless until we find our rest in you.”  God, our Father in Heaven, it seems, is also restless until he has brought us back into communion with him. 

Let’s get started with the wonderful story of grace.

Read Luke 15:11-32.

Then, listen to “Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Itching for Something Else.”

A Protective Family on the Chemung River in Elmira, NY; photo by GAC

A Protective Family on the Chemung River in Elmira, NY; photo by GAC

©2013 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.

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