Our Great King Of Feasting
21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
What does it mean to be a child of God? We sometimes approach the definition as a label of saintliness, a summary of evidenced character, or an earned quality of personhood. We can forget the indelible truth that this is a permanent identity substantiated by our mere existence as human beings. Every person is a child of God and nothing can ever change that fact. But do we claim that identity and act like his children? Do we live into that deepest truth about ourselves and understand and receive the privilege that comes with it? When we forget to see ourselves as permanently beloved children we forget the truth of our relationship with a God who accepts us always through Jesus and we also forget to see other people the way God does. Satan would tell us that God would no longer have us, that we are irredeemable, unwelcome to his presence, that we need to be better in order to live up to how God has forever seen each of us.
We need to be reminded that even the most difficult, abrasive, and seemingly hopeless individuals we know and see bear the mark of our Lord’s craftsmanship, the image bearers of God by their mere existence. They are his children no matter how lost or rebellious and the Lord’s desire will always be to have his children come be with him and live a life that is rooted in and acknowledges this relationship. That God delights over this, celebrates when his children seek him, especially at their very worst moments. God as creator and father desires to freely and abundantly provide for his children. He desires to celebrate and feast with us and be present with him in the blessings that he provides us daily.
We ground ourselves in this identity by being in the Word of God as often as we are able, being in prayer and communion with our creator as often as we are able, and communing with his people, the church. This holiday season let us try to reflect the joy and embracing heart of our heavenly Father who welcomes the lost to his house and table always and eternally because of our King Jesus Christ – the ultimate provision, the ultimate cause for celebration.
Lord God you are our mighty Father in heaven who delights in being with your people. Help me to remember and rejoice in the truth that I am welcome to your banquet table always, that the sacrifice of Jesus invites every person to the celebration of your established Kingdom here upon the earth. Give me your eyes and your heart towards those who go their own way, those who don’t see who they are or how strongly you desire them to call upon you as Father, Lord, Creator. Let me be quick in remembering I am your loved child, and bold to remind those you seek to tell in this celebratory season. In Jesus’ name, amen.