(An edited version of the final section of Duncan’s sermon this morning)
And then Duncan spoke once again.
What Jesus is undertaking in the story is providing these about him a fresh understanding of God. No one particular prior to Jesus has, as far as we are conscious, utilized the word ‘Abba’ to address God. ‘Abba Father’- an expression of fantastic intimacy. Jesus utilized this word of tender trust in the Father in all but one particular of his prayers recorded in the New Testament.
What is that God we are named to adore with heart, soul, thoughts, strength? He is our Father. He is our Abba. Our daddy. And when he tells the story of the Prodigal Son (or the Loving Father) it is to assistance us recognize the loveliness of our connection with God.
The waiting father, abba, is one particular who under no circumstances provides up on us. When he sees his son, who has wasted his life returning, he runs to meet him and throws his arms about him. ‘Elderly fathers in the Middle East under no circumstances run, which tends to make the actions of this father stand out,’ Duncan stated.
This is a image of God’s adore for us, it is depth and its extent. God loves us, regardless of all our failings and disappointments. And even when we turn our backs on this fantastic adore as we all do, repeatedly, the door is normally open. Our previous failures and disappointments under no circumstances define us: this loving and waiting father throws a celebration to welcome the son or daughter who was lost, dwelling.
No matter how far our lives move from the heart of God, no matter how lost we may possibly grow to be, there is normally the possibility of return, of new starting.
You can picture that people today, recognising his open-heartedness, and hearing a story like this, imbued with an extravagant welcome, flocked to hear Jesus. The most religiously committed people today have been horrified. It was the ‘wrong people’ who surround Jesus and acquire acceptance from him.
So Jesus ‘waiting father’ story was addressed to the earnestly pious people today as well. In his storytelling, he depicts a God who is ‘Abba’, loving and gracious and says ‘This is what we are to like as well. We are to people today of the Shema, people today who adore as Abba loves.
And, stated Duncan ‘The energy to adore comes from understanding that Abba loves us, in spite of all our flaws.’
There’s also a challenge in the parable about the limits of our adore. The elder brother in the story was angry that his loose-living brother was having all the focus. He went in the huff and refused to come to the celebration, and no doubt the father, who loved him, also with Abba adore was grieved by his hardness of heart.
Challenged Duncan: ‘Do our personal hearts currently want to be melted by the adore of God to welcome and forgive a person who has wounded us and let us down? Can we be adjust makers in our lives by way of cultivating an attitude which is open and loving towards other folks rather than closed? Is there one particular, take-away believed from Jesus’ story that I can assume about, and place into practice this week?
And Duncan prayed ‘Abba, forgive us our sins as we forgive these who sin against us.’