Theology in the Trenches: I am the prodigal

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Religion Columnist

I am the prodigal ... wayward, smitten with the world. Forgiven prodigal, I am.

I kneel as He reveals what it is that my own flesh and blood has born. Gently He chastises as Love’s pure Light has its way. 

Interesting it is that when He chastises, it’s like one big embrace, so in turn I may embrace. Such freedom it is to forgive as one ... a prodigal that is.

I am the elder brother ... sister if you will. Jealous I am of how He pours out His lavish love upon those who have walked far off. Forgive me for placing in the cross fires of my scope on anything that is not of You.

You are a jealous God for you will have no gods before You. Forgive me, the elder brother for seeing sin so clearly in my brother’s eye while the log which barricades blinds me. 

This causes a righteousness pointing to self, rather than You. Forgive me ... the older brother.

I long to be the forgiving father figure and know well Your voice as it whispers.

You can’t forgive a prodigal unless you yourself kneel before Me to receive forgiveness as one.

Father, that I may extend in grace my very arms as You wrap Yours around me ... sustaining and maintaining. I cannot, but You can, and because You can, I can. 

The beauty of the beast within is the transforming power of Your grace and mercy extended. 

Without a doubt you go about taking in those of us who have wandered far off.

As You look on, I become aware that I no longer want to be an onlooker. 

Participant I am as a forgiver because You have forgiven. Strike the discourse You desire, and set before me the shoulders needing burdens lifted. Help me to not oppress or repress anything that needs to be lifted on High. Help me to embrace all you set before me in ways everlasting.

Send unto me the afflicted and those needing reassurance ... that I may help lift the load by pointing them towards You, the forgiving Father. You bear all things. I need not add to the weight of the burdens carried. 

I leave you with a question.

How will you respond with the love of God for the sinner? Will you be willing to unite as one at the table of grace and of mercy? 

“Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of my being. I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible for God. ‘With God, everything is possible (Matt. 19:26).’” (Henri Nouwen) Amen.