Friday, March 16, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Lent – C4

Fourth Sunday in Lent – C4

Years C
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Grumbling about those with whom Jesus associated continues to rise up. Jesus' response is a story, not capitulation to the grumblers. In fact three stories that move from care for 1:100 sheep, 1:10 coins, and 1:2 children. Regardless of the ratio, care is needed and given. Regardless of the economics involved, care is needed and given.

In this story we hear the lead-in - Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. Imagine a pre-Emmaus meal with the youngest son who sinned by breaking any number of family and cultural ties and is eating with the pigs. Even in the slops, Jesus joins those caught in dissolute living and a healing surfaces - a coming to one's self.

In this moment of revelation an injured, lame one rises to be homeward bound. The long story of moving away becomes a short story of coming back.

For both the father and older son, it is as if he had never gone. A father is still generous - in welcome back as well as with resources to go. A brother is still put out - once cheated of a helpmate and resources and now cheated out of recognition and rejoicing.

So how will things be different? Will the younger son repeat his stunt seventy times seven times? Will he bring new technology from afar and make the land more productive? Will he be a catalyst for a moment of revelation by his brother? Will he find himself slain in a field at Cain's long hand?

Questions can also be asked of changes regarding the father and brother (not to mention invisible mother, servants, the next fatted calf, etc.) - questions hard and hopeful.

= = = = = = =

no one gave him anything
neither did she receive assistance
with nothing
from nothing
toward nothing
lost and lone
we finally peel back
what feels like fate
to see an abundance
from which we have come
to which we return
in the ashes
from which we have come
to which we return
in an abundance of ashes
we find not only
ashes of abundance
we find also
new sight
new direction
new energy
new life
we hear also
angels rejoicing
as one in hundred is found
as one in ten is found
as one in two is found
as one unique in all the world is found
and so
what have we to lose
when there is paradise to gain

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