Return to God
March 16, 2018
The decal on the center of the basketball court floor says, “March Madness.” The college teams are playing their hearts out because now every game matters. The madness occupies entire cities, including Tucson, passionate about getting to the Final Four, and then the championship game. Unfortunately most teams will return home after being defeated. Sadly, one of those is our University of Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team.
In a story Jesus tells in Luke 15, a kind of madness overtakes the younger of two brothers, who demands his inheritance from their father and then squanders it all. Then he has a moment of clarity about his dismal situation, and decides to return home, seemingly defeated.
What is that moment like, when defeat seems certain, and a return to the source – to home – is the best thing to do? Life is full of these moments – a failed college semester, a broken relationship, an important lost game, hitting bottom from an addiction, a disturbing illness, or sometimes just being plain worn out from too much work or excessive demands.
In Jesus’ story, the younger son trudges home, defeated. But in an unexpected reversal, returning home is not just an ending, but a beginning of a new life, a second chance. The season of Lent, and our theme Connecting to God… The Voice of God Within Us, gives us the chance to listen for the ways we need to return to God, to admit our failures and uncertainties and struggles, and encounter a surprising next chapter in OUR stories. This week’s message is about what it’s like to return to God, and the surprises that await us, according to Jesus.
So we pray: Gracious God, help us recognize that moment when we need to return to your loving arms. Welcome us, strengthen us, give us courage and hope, and wrap us in your surprising embrace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.