Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ ” (Luke 15:31-32, NRSV)
The psalm sets the tone this day: “Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away!” Happy are those who have “become the righteousness of God” in the merits of Christ Jesus. Happy are those for whom the forgiveness of God has “rolled away . . . the disgrace” of former times. Happy is the father at the return of his prodigal son. Happy are we that our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Rejoice!
Sunday’s Worship Music — 606 — Our Father, We Have Wandered —Today’s gospel reading includes the famous parable of the prodigal son/forgiving father. Today’s hymn of the day, places us in the role of the prodigal son and describes God as the compassionate, forgiving, and ever caring Lord.
New Day Worship Song — How Deep is Your Compassion — In New Day, our Worship Song voices these words in the song’s refrain, “I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” As we study again the story of the Prodigal Son, we are reminded that in the end, all we can do is acknowledge our hopeless dependence upon sin, and fall at the feet of God the Father, asking forgiveness.
So what is forgiveness? Forgiveness is complete and final. Forgiveness is what God does for us, given to us when Jesus shed his blood (Matthew 26:28). What’s more, forgiveness is what’s expected of people who are in relationship with God. Here’s a quote that we actually like: “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope). In other words, we are at our most divine — closet to God — when we forgive. God is the forgiver, the one who forgives us and makes it possible for us to forgive each other. And because we are, all of us, sinners, forgiveness is an ongoing thing — we need it often and will need to do it often. Just like Jesus said (Matthew 18:21) ~~ Rolf A. Jacobson, Editor, Crazy Talk: A Not So Stuffy dictionary of Theological Terms the Dark