23rd day of Lent

Letting go.

In the story Jesus told about the two lost sons (Luke 15), what did the “prodigal” son let go of in order to leave slopping the pigs and come back home to his family? Pride. Independence. His self-centeredness. His claim as a “son” replaced with a willingness to be a servant (he thought).

In the same story, what would the older son have to let go of in order to come back in the house and be in relationship with his father and brother? His envy. Self-righteousness. Resentment at feeling unappreciated. Insistence on playing by the rules. In the story Jesus told we do not know what the older brother ended up doing…(which is a blatant invitation to put ourselves in this character’s place).

But what did the father give up? Here was an elder man running (undignified in that culture) to a greet a son who had shamed him (where was the father’s honor?). And so he let go of his dignity and honor, of his demand that the money be returned, of his right to give a lecture, his right to slam the door in his son’s face.

The hymn writer says: “When I was sinking down, beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.” Yes, our Lord Jesus for us let go of life.

It seems that to love with all our heart, soul, mind and strength will inevitably mean letting go for a greater good at times. It seems to be a way of life, certainly a way of faith, and miraculously a way of God with us human creatures.