Prodigal Son, Prodigal Father, Prodigal God


Study for The Prodigal Son by Honore Daumier

Day after day, week after week, I’m blessed by the wisdom and beauty of God passed along by Steve Garnaas Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light. Consider subscribing to the goodness.

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 <><

Click here for the Younger Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Older Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Prodigal Father’s Prayer (2016)

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.

Worship Resource: Praise the Lord, My Strength (Psalm 59)

Psalm 59_17This worship resource features selected verses from Psalm 59 and the timeless hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. (United Methodist Hymnal #139, verses 1, 3, 5) Feel free to add more verses as desired. Feel free to use the traditional version of the hymn or consider Christy Nockels’ contemporary version made popular at the Passion Conference.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation.
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near, join me in glad adoration!

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do who with His love doth befriend thee

Instrumental music continues during the scripture reading

Psalm 59:9, 16-17 NRSV
O my Strength, I will watch for You
For You, O God, are my fortress

I will sing of Your might;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning

For You have been a fortress for me
and a refuge in the day of my distress.

O my Strength, I will sing praises to You
For You, O God, are my fortress
The God who shows me steadfast love

Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the amen sound from His people again
Gladly forever adore Him

Praise the Lord, My Strength © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form

Worship Resource: Joyful Praise

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Worship Resource: Joyful Praise
ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 1
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You alone are holy, Lord God, Worker of Wonders.
You are mighty
You are great
You are the Most High
You are omnipotent, our holy Father, King of heaven and earth.

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 2
All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You, Lord God, three and one, are our every good.
You, Lord God, all good, our highest good-
Lord God living and true.
You are charity and love.
You are wisdom.
You are humility.
You are patience.
You are security.
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 3
Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You are justice and temperance.
You are riches altogether sufficient.
You are beauty.
You are meekness.
You are our protector.
You are our strength.
You are our refreshment.
You are our hope.
You are our faith.
You are our most profound sweetness.
You are our eternal life, great and admirable Lord,
omnipotent God, merciful Savior!

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 4
Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o’er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.

Prayer from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
Orbis Books (April 1, 1982)

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.
The United Methodist Hymnal #89
Text: Henry Van Dyke
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven
Public Domain

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Joyful Praise compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia