“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” (Lk 15:22–24, NLT)
Parties: birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s, Super Bowl, solar eclipses, and on and on the list could go. We’ll go to a party for just about any reason but why did the skeleton go to the party alone? Because he had no body to go with him. (Sorry, that was bad). Of all the reasons for a party, I can think of no better reason to celebrate, even more than a 50th birthday, than the one I see Jesus describe in Luke 15. The prodigal is HOME and the Father calls for a celebration like no other. He is given a robe, a ring, and a roast. In those gifts the Father restored his son’s authority, dignity and relationship in the family. When lost things are found it brings us joy. When lost people are found it should signal a joyous celebration. Jesus tells another story immediately preceding the prodigal story about a woman and a lost coin:
“…imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbours: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” (Lk 15:8–10, The Message).
So tonight and all weekend, let’s give heaven a reason to party. Let’s turn up the bass, kick up our heels, joyously serve, and with a smile and a bear hug let’s welcome some folks back HOME!