Thursday, September 24, 2009

Insights from the prodigal son for the ELCA.

I was recently talking with a group of clergy about the ELCA's recent votes on sexuality and how it's affected our churches . Pastor Dave Sonnenberg of our neighboring church, shared a sermon I found moved me to a different perspective.

He based his sermon on the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. It's about a son who squanders his father's inheritance and still the father welcomes him with open arms. It's a goldmine for understanding God's abundant love and can be interpreted for a variety of situations.

Pastor Sonnenberg interpreted it n light of his thoughts on the ELCA sexuality vote and the way many have felt no longer at home in the church.
He talks about what it is like to be that begrudging older son. That son did everything right and is angry when the father accepts this child into the household who he doesn't think belongs. For more, read Pastor Sonnenberg's sermon, especially if you or someone you know is hurting about this decision. Thanks Dave for sharing.
For more on the prodigal son, check out Henri Nowen's book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming and if you too are drawn to this parable, you might like the book "and Grace shall lead me home" a collection of art about the Prodigal Son.


  1. Hi, Revd Sarah!

    This is Franciscan Jerry from London again. I haven't kept posting Comments to tell you how much I agree - or, occasionally, disagree with you.

    A Franciscan friend has just reminded me about my Profession as a Tertiary in '98. I'd forgotten that, before prostrating myself in the form of a Latin cross, I'd slipped off my shoes and lain face down with the soles of my bare feet exposed.

    I make the annual renewal of my vows on Saturday 3rd in Southwark (Angican, you'd call it "Protestant Episcopalian" or just "Episcopalian") Cathedral. I will be going forward barefoot.

    Your blog is one of very few that I follow. A lot of them seem self-congratulatory or - even worse - pointless.

    Do keep it up. I have yet to visit the States, and have no idea of the Maryland terrain, but your blog puts me in mind of Isaiah 52.7 "How beautiful upon the mountains..."

    I've yet to find any barefoot hiking clubs in the UK, but I've joined SBL and found another site called "Barefoot in London" that seems to mean the British London, not another.

    Love & Prayers.

    Jerry H

  2. Me again! In case I'm causing confusion, my original Comment was posted on your original blog 'Welcome.' Maybe you'll find a moment to say a quick one for me on 3 October!

    Love & Prayers,

    Jerry H


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