19th January

But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatten calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:22-24

Jesus in Luke 15 tells 3 separate parables, highlighting the joy of when something lost is found. The most famous of these is probably the story of the prodigal son, who left home taking with him his portion of his father’s inheritance. He squandered all he had on prodigal living and ended up feeding pigs in the fields. He eventually came to his senses and decided to go home and ask for forgiveness from his father.

As the son approaches home, incredibly the father rushes out to greet his once lost son, throws his arms around him and declares that his ‘dead’ son is now alive. Moreover, he restores the son by giving him three items. The first a robe, to symbolise status, a ring, to symbolise authority and sandals, to symbolise his liberation from slave like living and to affirm his status as a son of his father‘s household.

Much has been made of the true meaning of this parable by commentators and scholars alike. Is this a parable depicting the journey of a Christian who was once fallen away from the church, and God the Father waiting patiently to reconcile that person back to Him? Or is it our daily relationship with Father God; our daily sins and rebellion, forgiven by a loving Father, full of grace and mercy? We could probably argue for both viewpoints, yet what is key to this parable, is truly the grace, mercy and love of a compassionate Father, who is in the business of restoring broken things, ie.. US. Our Heavenly Father does beckon us back when we fall away from Him, when we sin and rebel against His holy standards. He does adorn us with royal robes and give us the status of being sons and daughters of His Kingdom. He does restore us and give all the benefits of His inheritance for us, even when we don’t deserve it. That is grace. That is love. That is our God.