Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel

12 GIVE ME MY SHARE    - Luke 15

It has been one of the enduring gifts given to me by a school. Vanderbilt, like some other divinity schools, maintains a Wesleyan on the faculty. By that, I mean someone who can instruct and encourage students walking the Methodist way.

Reading Responsible Grace impacted all future encounters with that adjective. Intern Minoka would have you know that the author, Randy Maddox, is a Duke guy. Fair enough. Scholarship travels. I was added to the ranks of those for whom responsible forever means response-able.

Are we free to respond to God’s grace? I ask because I sometimes feel like we Jesus followers develop our understanding of freedom in the secular realm and then bring it to worship with us as though our Scriptures and traditions don’t deserve a say in the matter.

A young man was free to feel the force of financial gravity (v.12),* free to pursue the kingdom of self (v.13) free to exhaust resources (v.14), free to come to his senses at a preferred pace (v.17), free to return home (v.20)...oh, was he free.

But how free was he to respond to God’s grace—to do no harm, to do good, to stay in love with God? How free was he to live generously? Not; at least, not during this chapter of his life to which we are made privy by Luke.

This is but a story. Jesus presented the prodigal as a parable. That said, when Jesus chooses to tell a story, truth spills over like foam from a hastily poured soda. I wonder if Jesus saw in humankind a distorted understanding of what it means to be free and a shortsighted, small-hearted demand for our share (v.13).

If only holy and redeemed living was a simple as independence. By all means, celebrate yours and ours, this holiday weekend. Carve out time with the Spirit too. Dare to ponder the ways in which you are free in the biblical to move beyond the kingdom of self and into the kingdom of to become a first responder to grace. And let that be your spark(ler). __________________________________________ * Tom Berlin, Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More.