Here are some pictures of pre-party fun…..tea party, fort built by the older grandkids, breakfast with Sam giving a pirate face, apricot blossoms, Claire wanting to ride the stick horse.
“Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me’….After a few days, the younger son collected all his belonging and set off to a distant country.” Luke 15
Freedom. The younger son wanted his freedom. Everyone knows the story of the Prodigal Son. Today, as I ponder this story, I’m wondering why he wanted his freedom. Was he lazy and wanted to spend money on worthless, selfish pleasures? Why didn’t he invest his money and balance his time with creating money so he’d have more money to spend on worthless, selfish pleasures? Instead, he spent his inheritance money, his father’s money, until it was gone. Did this younger son want his freedom because he was tired of following directions from his older brother and father? Maybe he wanted to follow his own advisement, have his own opinions, instead of following rules and expectations of other people. Did he not feel respected for his position, the younger son? Why did this boy want to run away? Why did he desire freedom?
This story of the prodigal son was the gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Lent. This day also followed a Saturday party for my Dad’s 94th birthday. During our pre-gathering fun, there were some political discussions about our Oregon legislative bills for immunization (HB 3063), cap and trade (HB 3250), a rent control bill (HB 2629), pay increases for our legislators (SB 959), as well as discussions about federal issues of border wall, gun control and other hot topic issues. (When I looked on the internet for the senate and house bill numbers being discussed in Salem, I was surprised and shocked at the amount of bills our legislators are going to discuss. They are looking at over 1500 bills. Oh My Goodness.) As I ponder these bills supervising our education, transportation, medical issues, and energy, I wonder how these men and women can declare where I spend my money and dictate my actions. Some of this stuff sounds almost communistic. I’m realizing my independent spirit rebels when I’m being dictated to. Is this what happened to the younger son? I want to choose my boss. Governor Brown was only elected by six counties out of the 36 counties in our state whereas, Baker County wasn’t one of them. Part of me wants to say “she’s not my governor, I didn’t vote for her.” Most of these bills are being presented by legislators that don’t live in Eastern Oregon and at this moment, I don’t want them as my boss. Maybe the younger son was thinking these same thoughts.
In this Prodigal son story, life in the distant country didn’t work out for this younger son. AND as you well know, Jesus’ reason for telling this story was to enforce the truth of God’s love and mercy toward all of us. He wasn’t addressing rebellion, love of money, or loose living. Jesus wanted us to know the fact that God loves us and will forgive us if we only return to him.
OK my lord, my boss, my king, my judge, my savior, my helper, my friend, I need to always seek the truth of your words and not jump into ponderings that pull me away from your lessons of life. I need to think about your words of “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Help me write letters to my elected leaders that will be taken seriously. Protect us from laws like the pharisees and scribes that burden us. AND please keep me focused on “treating my neighbor as myself” when I’m in any leadership roles.