Yesterday we heard three parables including the Prodigal Son.  I have talked to many people – including some of you – who say this is their very favorite parable.  But I need to make a disclaimer up front:  I am the oldest child.  Not only am I the oldest, but my mom is the oldest child, my grandma is the oldest child and my great grandmother is the oldest child.  That is four generations of oldest children – I have a good reason for being responsible!  Thus in this parable, I relate most to the older son.  The one who is there, who is loyal and hardworking, who tries to do the right thing.  While those are all good attributes, this story shows us how that is not enough.  In my opinion, that can be devastating.

But perhaps you relate more to the younger son – being somewhat reckless, making your share of mistakes, squandering money, making decisions that you are not proud of.  In fact, we all make mistakes.  None of us is all the older son or the younger son.  We are a combination of both.  We can strive to be like the father in this story, not judging, forgiving completely, no questions asked.  But face it – we are human.  We are sinners.  The older son isn’t able to forgive and forget as his father does.  No, he is jealous and judgmental.  Hurt that his own accomplishments and loyalty aren’t recognized.  

Through this story, Jesus is talking to us – regardless of our birth order (notice no middle child is even mentioned!)  We are human.  We are sinful.  And yet we are loved.  We are embraced.  We are accepted just as we are.  We are forgiven.  And all of this is a gift of grace from God.  Amen.