The Prodigal Returns

4th Sunday of Lent
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32

The prodigal son took his inheritance and went into the world of temptation and lost all his earthly goods.

Our chapter begins as the pharisees and teachers of the law accuse Jesus of eating with sinners.
Jesus replied with the story of the prodigal son.

We are all prodigals, sons and daughters of the living God.

Hear this true story of a prodigal daughter as she begins her spiritual journey back into the family of God. She states, “I knew I could go home and I knew my parents would take me back into their home and love me. The welcome I dreaded was the one from my church before I felt the pull of the world. How would they accept me, knowing what I had done?”

She told her pastor, “I know I’m going to return to the church, but this is not the right time for me to do that.”  Her pastor said, “Why not?” She answered, “It is just not the right time now.”

“Why not?” he asked her as he sobbed bitterly. Calmingly her pastor said, “Marcy, when could possibly be a better time to join the church family. When could you need a church family more than you need one right now?”

The prodigal daughter was welcomed home with open arms and hugs.

“Now no one in the church family had a fatted calf to slaughter for celebration upon my return,” she said, “but they did take me out to lunch after worship, each Sunday for many weeks, seeing that I had proper food. Instead of a robe to cover my ragged clothes and a ring for my finger, the women of the church offered me used clothes and a necklace with a cross on it, reminding me that I was a child of God.”

“Years later I suspect that all their loves and gifts is what drove me to become a pastor. I know God’s love is a powerful gift that he offers to all prodigals who come home.”

The Lord uses great hymns of faith of the church to awaken us and prepare us for His service.

“Amazing grace,
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me”
was written by John Newton, a former slave trader.

“Come as you are. That’s how I want you.”
by diedre rowne. This song is beautiful, gentle, simple, and good for starting someone on a new spiritual journey.

“God Has Laid a Feasting Table”
by Shawn Whelan. This is an invitational message inviting all to come and feast at his holy table.

“Welcome Me Back Home”
By Paul Summerville. A loving song about god’s love that comes out to meet us on our return from the pitfalls of life.

“God Is Still Waiting”
By Carl P. Daw. God is waiting for us for he keeps the promise he has made to all of us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.

“In Christ There Is a Table Set for All”
By Robert Stample. This makes us mindful that the communion table is offered for all of us as a gift from our savior and his great love for each and every one of us.

I encourage all who are present in this worship service today to become a guest of our Lord as we share this holy sacrament with him and one another. Amen!