Steve most often bases his posts on his walks through the beauty of Colorado or on the week’s Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary. As such, this week Steve’s been writing on themes from Luke 15:11-32, most commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son.
These writings have been extraordinary, so I’ve gathered them here with Steve’s permission. May they challenge you and inspire you to more and more embody the wasteful, reckless, extravagant love of our God in Jesus. – Lisa <><
The word “prodigal” does not mean “wayward,” as many believe (based on our tendency to join the brothers in making judgments). It means wastefully or recklessly extravagant, extraordinarily generous, giving “prodigiously.” The term was meant to refer to the younger son’s lavish living—but it’s really the father who’s prodigal, isn’t it? The father extends generous grace and love to both sons when neither of them “deserve” it.
– Steve Garnass-Holmes, Prodigal Father (2013)
Excerpt from Prodigal People by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2013)
The prodigal father extends love and blessing to both his sons. No demands, no qualifications, no judgments, no favoritism. He sets aside any judgment of either son, simply wanting to be in relationship with them. He loves them both, offers himself to them both, and invites both of them to share his joy.
If our Prodigal God is this generous, forgiving and inclusive, how can we be otherwise? If God declines to judge and punish, how can we? Jesus embodies God, giving himself for the sake of the poor, welcoming the outcast, taking his place among the condemned, offering nothing but love and life. And we seek to follow him, to be godlike in the same way.
A Prodigal People’s Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2016)
O Prodigal God, wastefully loving,
recklessly extravagant with grace,
excessively generous with forgiveness,
liberal with tender mercy and compassion,
lavish with hope and delight:
you shower us with love
that we are not prepared to receive.
You know the hurt beneath our fleeing,
the fear enclosed in our anger
and our clutching of what is deserved.
You embrace us freely and passionately,
free from our past, knowing and healing our pain,
in the present moment, celebrating.
You have recklessly given us your love:
may we spread it wantonly, give it all away,
spend it on the unlovely, waste it on the unworthy.
May we set aside our pride and practice delight.
May we claim again the siblings we have spurned,
and gladly celebrate those we have excluded.
May we offer hospitality to the unlovely,
forgive where it is unwarranted,
and love when it is unreasonable.
In your love may we love lavishly,
without exception or measurement.
Yes, it will break our hearts;
we shall be taken advantage of, and worse—
we shall be crucified, and only your love will remain.
And then for us, who have died and are alive again
you will give a great feast.
By your grace may this life be a reunion,
a celebration, a resurrection,
that in prodigal love we may know your joy,
your giving, dancing, feasting, running, embracing joy.
Steve Garnaas Holmes retains the copyrights to his work referenced and posted here. Contact him directly for posting and publishing considerations.