A parable:prodigal faith…returning home

For years she had cultivated her faith in her father’s house. And for years she looked out the windows across the fences, the barriers at the other side…wondering about those people the ” other.” One evening, just as the curtains were falling on another day all here questions and wondering errupted like a volcano. It all came spewing out and filled the space around her. There was no way she could shove and poke it all back in. It finally would have to dealt with. In the morning she would confront her father and tell him, she was leaving.

She arose early, her father was sitting on the veranda his face shining as he watched creation coming to life. The sun rising in the distance through the morning mist on the fields, the birds harmonizing filling the air with joyous song gently stirring the animals of the field back to life. She gently tapped her father on the shoulder, he turned and smiled, ” yes, my dear daughter…you look troubled?”

” I need to leave home, to take the things I’ve inherited here and go to the other side ” she said kneeling at her fathers side. ” Are you not happy here?”, her father questioned, looking thoughtfully at her daughter. ” Yes “, she said, ” But, I am filled with questions.” ” Go then “, her father said, ” take what you have inherited and leave.”

She went back to her room and packed, many bags…she was surprised at how much she had accumulated over the years. She had boxes and boxes of beliefs; of do’s and don’ts; of thou shalt and thou shalt not; of rules, written and unwritten; drawers filled with dogma and doctrine. With everything cramed in her suitcases she was ready to leave. Standing at the edge of the drive way her father watched her wander off into the distance.

The closer she got to city of the ” others “she was overome by an emotional storm…it was a swirling mix of anxiety, fear and excitement as she entered the unknown. She was invited into the house of an obvious sinner, there were theives, prostitutes, addicts and loan sharks. She dug through bags of beliefs, and do’s and don’ts, and thou shalt and thou shalt not’s…nothing seemed to fit. She threw away what didn’t fit. She ate their food, drank their wine and enjoyed their conversation. She loved them…she shone light on them.

The next day she happened to be on the street when some servant was handing out invitations to a feast. She decided to go. It was crazy, the banquet hall was filled with the unimaginable…there was the sick, the lame, the poor, drunks, and addicts, theives, convicts, single moms, orphans and gay couples. There was singing and dancing, hooting and hollering…she had never seen so much joy in all her life.  But, again she dug through her bags of beliefs, and do’s and don’ts, and thou shalt and thou shalt not’s…nothing seemed to fit…and again nothing seemed to fit. Again she threw the non-fitting bits away. Again, she decided to love, to be love…to fill the space with light.

Every day seemed to repeat itself…until she was left with nothing except one little piece of paper tucked in her pocket. Suddenly out of nowhere she was filled with guilt…had she squandered and thrown away all the faith she had inherited over the years. Her father would be furious she thought. The guilt just kept washing over her, she felt like she was drowning. She knew she just had to go back and tell her father and hope she would understand.

What she didn’t know was there wasn’t one day that her father didn’t walk out to the end of the drive way and watch for her…not one day. Finally the morning came when he saw her off in the distance, staggering sadly and empty-handed. He danced with joy, and pulled up his robe and ran like a mad man out to her. Before she could say a thing, he hugged and kissed her…he couldn’t stop kissing her.

Finally through teary eyes, she said to her father, ” I lost all the faith I had inherited, all the bags I had…I threw away.” ” I only have this one little crumpled up piece left”, crying as she pulled it out and handed it to her father. The father uncrumpled it and read…this. He laughed, and kissed her wiping away her tears, and said, ” my sweet, sweet daughter you haven’t lost anything…you’ve simply found the greatest reality of simple faith.”

Then he called out to servants, ” we’re throwing a party, fire up the BBQ, grab the steaks and best wine.” ” This daughter of mine has lost everything, only to find a great great treasure…the faith of abundant life.”

The older sister still in the house fortifying and solidifying her beliefs was outraged at her father, stormed away mumbling and cursing under her breath, refusing to take part in the celebration of new found faith. She had spent years, and years constructing her faith…her’s was truth, this was real faith.

Written by Ron Cole 2012-02-10 )

 


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