Scripture: Luke 15:18-20 (The Message)
I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand. He got right up and went home to his father. When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.
I learned as a human parent, no matter how many nights my sons kept me awake crying, or however many glasses of milk they knocked over, I could never stop loving my children. It did not mean, of course, that I was always happy with their behavior! Oh, no…
Of course, as my sons grew older and more independent, the challenges became bigger. I could usually tell when something was up, but even today my sons in their 40's occasionally confess to something I had missed. I shake my head and tell them I love them anyway.
I am fortunate that my father in his 90's is still sharing life with us here. Recently he got very upset that someone close to him had not felt she could share a sorrow in her life. He will always be a father, because that's how he is - listening, teaching, comforting, waiting, forgiving, loving - through the good and the bad in our lives. He taught me more than I realized about parenting - and God.
Several decades ago Joe Wise had a children's song called "The Prodigal Son." He sang about a son who claimed his inheritance, bought a motorcycle and took off. His father stood by the door, coffee in hand, watching and waiting. The words have lived with me all these years: "He can't help it, our God, he's a father; and waiting is how he must be."
In this season of Lent, we know that God is there - waiting for us to come back home.
God, our father, our mother, we know you are still watching and waiting, and loving us always. For that we give you thanks, and love. Amen