St Matthews Digital
Meditation & Prayer
27 March 2022
Cate Thorn continues the 2022 Lenten series exploring grace as part of healing
Rev Cate Thorn
Have You Seen?
06 March 2022
07 September 2022
06 February 2022
13 March 2022
20 March 2022
Theologies of repentance
04 February 2022
Climate Crisis Statement
16 December 2018
Joseph - raising good men
22 March 2020
Separately together in these times
24 February 2019
Face Slapping 101
04 February 2022
Meditation & Prayer
Arts and Music
users can comment on a video.
Chinese rule 8 continues. The theme of healing is with us as we go.
I'm really interested to see how each week's readings seem to be unfolding and quite an organic way. We began with seeing things as they are and then we had the theme of lamenting and the last week the theme of repenting and this week we might hear it as a gospel of return.
How many of you hold this parable of the prodigal son and dear to your heart?
It is certainly one of the better knowing stories, you know, the Prodigal Returns as common to our lexicon. I was interested as I looked at it. That's the kind of word, prodigal, I had in my head. I thought must be something to do with the band one coming back. But when I actually looked at it, it means a translates as I drive forth, squander waste, use up, consume a prodigal has given to extravagant expenditure levitation. Wasteful.
So the prodigality of the Summers and his wastefulness.
Well, the stage is set for the telling of this Parable because judgment has been passed on the tax collectors and sinners that Jesus welcomes and eats with And as we heard, the parable tells of a wealthy landowner who has two sons at the bidding office. Younger one, the father, divest himself of his wealth and land to give equal share to his two sons.
And the younger one decides to take all of that inheritance and leave and he lives lavishly and wastefully until his sheer is used up. And then in the place where he is famine descends, and he is forced to eke out a living feeding pigs, and as you probably know it is a pig is a creature of particular aversion and Judaism and those pigs are eating better. So it further compounds you like The Depths to which this younger son has.
He has nothing.
And then he remembers without expectation of restoration, he chooses to return home to his family. The Prodigal Returns to her father's full body to embrace and utter Delight. Mark with extravagant celebration But then the constant tirelessly faithful older brother. The only one ding ding what remains of the family property on whom his father and now his recalcitrant brother will depend is rightfully offended.
His presence has never been celebrated with such large ears.
The father takes and he reminds him. He reminds the older brother of the Iran question. Oneness, one with the other and the younger Branch or younger brother, had chosen to sever his connection. He was as good as dead is alive.
I've this prodigal brother circumstances lead him to repent.
To turn and to choose to return.
It seems to me, there are different economies at Play Here. There is the economies of land and inheritance and livelihood, for sure.
there are also economies of Grace, Only in an economy of Grace. Could the Lost fun fine son, find his way back to himself and his belongings.
the father invites, the older brother to see this and therefore to join with him and celebrating the restoration of wholeness of his brother and therefore all of them It is a great story and it is a very competent story especially for any of us who throw in caution and Sensibility to the wind and lived wastefully without concern for our impact on those who love us.
Redemption is always possible.
Then one day I was at a self checkout at my local warehouse and I was waiting well Gregory purchased a couple of items and I heard this conversation taking place between a woman and a staff member and I turned slightly to see. There was a woman there may be in who bodies or 50s the older you get the harder the gifts She had worn clothing, but she was very tidily dressed. Who here was tied back and her dignity was intended across her Crawley. She had three small garments children's clothing.
She wanted to pay cash for the items and you can only use your card there. So she was talking to the woman there to help her and the woman told her that three garments total, six dollars, 85. So carefully, the woman had a small plastic, one of those cash bags. She started counting outs or coins, one by one and two, the hand of the shopper shopper system.
She looked at the empty bag and she looked at her purse and she reached in for another bag. Carefully measured coins started counting them out. I got quite tearful. I felt quite ashamed with off the largest, the everything that was around us being easily and casually Acquired. And this woman with your great dignity coin by coin was counting out six dollars.
Two by three small garments and all likelihood for a grandchild.
Part of me wanted to rescue wanted to LEAP in and say I'll pay for it, but I didn't want to destroy dignity which was so intense.
Well, The Prodigal Son story. Just happened to be looking through my head at the same time.
And as I observed this interchange, I was struck by something.
And in this Parable, there are some social assumptions being made.
What if you were in despair?
And you had no money to return to.
What if you didn't know who your father or your family was all, it was far too dangerous to even consider going back there. Or if you didn't know you came from, you had no land and no identity to return to or you could no longer return there.
How would this Parable reasoning? Would you feel included?
Do you need to have those things to be included?
I got a bit grumpy. In fact I became quite irritated by the parabolic completely but I said with that discomfort and I sought to discern what the parable might be saying beneath that anger that had fired and me about what I perceived was Injustice.
And I came to recognize, I hear it from a place of privilege. I hear the parable and make assumptions about it because of my worldview in my life.
And I remember the gospel music event that I went to some years ago. It was an in curtain and Martha's Vineyard, which sounds far more Posh than it was, I was doing my sister and they have already placed the you The event featured a number of African American singers and groups are musicians for a range of churches that have come to the Mount this Vineyard. For this concept. As a fundraiser from the mainland, it was an informal sort of worship occasion with a loose playlist Order. Each played for the other half, the time different groups or individuals took the stage in turn to sing it to worship.
Testifying to their faith songs were interwoven with outbursts, of joyous words of Celebration, or stories of the terrible Journeys.
That traveled and all the while in the background, the music, the Rhythm kept going, As I listened, I heard a theme I heard a theology emerging, that surprised me.
I turned to my sister and I said, This faith is upside down to me.
Me many of these beautiful people stood with the lineage of those who had been slaves and many still lived.
The struggle of racial oppression.
They enjoyed being their stories and their tears of joy and Thanksgiving arose out of suffering.
Tears of joy and Thanksgiving shed not from being relieved of suffering, but at that end their suffering. God, Jesus make them, they knew this presence within, they knew it.
It gave them hope. It told them, they were worthy that they were not abandoned or alone who they were their identity as God's beloved children, could not be taken from them.
Whatever their context, this could not be diminished.
And they rejoice in a way that is hard.
To see in any other context.
So this memory caused me to look again at The Prodigal Son story to look not at the beginning and at the end about to the middle, No, where is the younger son in this Parable? When he is made in a way that causes him to return?
He's in the field with pigs that are aging, while no one gave him anything.
And then we hear these words.
when he came to himself, he said, here I am dying of hunger. I will get up and go to my father in the midst of his despair. He came to himself, He remembers added impelled him to seek to be remembered in his father.
It is not when he is better. It is not when he has fixed everything. He has no certainty of his reception, but in the desperate intimacy of his despair, his heart is open to receive the gift.
Of coming to himself.
And it propels him to return to a context of provision and sustenance.
As he is.
He retraced her steps towards healing.
With the different economies at play in this parable.
The economy of prodigal Grace.
Is the absolute hardest class to embrace.
Acceptance, as we are right now as you are.