Emily C. Heath
My wife and I have a joke. We tell it when we are out in public, at an airport or a restaurant or concert, and I need to use the bathroom. When I stand up to find a restroom I say to her, “Okay, honey, if I’m not out in five minutes, come look for me.” We always laugh but, actually, it’s not that funny.
When I was in middle school and high school I wanted to go to one of the service academies. In order to help secure an appointment, I joined a military cadet program in seventh grade. In many ways it was a good experience, and so I am not naming the specific program here, as I believe it does teach many young people about leadership, self-discipline, and teamwork. But it was also through this program that I had an experience that taught me a lesson I have never forgotten.
I often worry that churches are too full of people who are not disappointments. Bear with me here. I love the story of the Prodigal Son. I love the idea that no matter what we do in life, no matter how much we mess up, God will still welcome us when we decide to come home.
One of the few fairnesses of life is the fact that each of us is given an equal 168 hours per week. That is where equality in so many ways ends. From that point on our privileges or lack thereof, and the resources they bring, define what we can do with that time.
It has become almost a cliché for preachers to focus on the older brother of the Prodigal Son. Too often, not even our churches let us be the fallen brother who desperately wants to come home.