"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

The Prodigal Son [Guest Post]

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 Under: Reflections
One of my friends and mission partners, Susanna (or Constable as I call her, rather ridiculously!), has recently written a very thought-provoking reflection on the prodigal son and has kindly allowed me to repost it here. She writes from the point of view of the church and the LGBTQ community as that is her area of ministry, but I think it's applicable to anyone who has felt less than welcome in the church, for whatever reason. It captures the spirit of how we're trying to connect with students at Student Life in Newcastle, which you can read more about in my Evangelism Castles post.

Here are Susanna's thoughts:

A couple of days ago, I was out on my bike (training for my sponsored ride) praying about my summer internship with The Marin Foundation. The Prodigal Son came to mind, a story Jesus tells after he is accused of associating with so called "notorious sinners."

In Luke's gospel, the youngest of two sons asks his father for his inheritance early. He then goes off to a distant land and wastes the money he was given. Broke and trying to survive a famine, the youngest son finds a job feeding pigs. He's so hungry and desperate that he would willing eat the pig swill if only someone would let him. He finally realises that at home, even the hired hands have it better than this, so he heads off to beg his father's forgiveness and ask if he can work for him as a servant.

Meanwhile, the father has been longing for the return of his child. Seeing the prodigal son far off in the distance, he runs out to meet him. Overwhelmed with love, the father wants to embrace his son, forgive all and throw him a massive welcome home party, but this is where my version differs from the parable.

There is now an impassible chasm between the son and the father. A bridge has been burnt and he cannot return. Unfortunately this is true for so many people who long to find their way to Father God, but find obstacles in the way. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community in particular have fled the church, because of it's views on sexuality, and settled down far away. As I cycled and prayed the other day, I wondered how many LGBTQ people wanted to come home to God the Father, but have found their path blocked. Too many I am sure. How very sad.

It is possible the prodigal burnt his bridges as he was leaving, but there is also another suspect: the older brother. The gospel story tells of his jealous anger. He had been working hard for his father all these years and yet this reprobate was getting all the attention. Perhaps he set fire to the bridge in an attempt to administer the justice he felt was deserved. Like the older brother, Christians are blessed to live with the Father. Yet all too often we allow schism and disagreement to hinder those we are called to love, doing nothing to rebuild the bridge. Surely that has to change?

Like the father in this tale, God is waiting for prodigals to come home, paying no regard to their gender, race or sexuality. He sets no conditions and forgives any and all mistakes; he simply wants to love and embrace everyone. The welcome home party is prepared, so the Father is not interested in why or how the bridge was burnt. He is however, asking his children to fix it so we can be reunited.

Susanna is about to embark on an internship with The Marin Foundation, a charity in the USA that seeks to build bridges between LGBTQ folk and Christians. If you're interested in finding out more about her ministry and how you can support her, do check out her blog. And please be praying for her as she takes this big step of faith.

In : Reflections 

Tags: "prodigal son" lgbtq mission church 


"loving god' commandment relationship 40th activity acts addiction adoption adultery advent aesop agapé android animation anxiety apologetics app apps argument aroma atheism audio ben folds bible bible characters bible narrative bible study bible trading cards big picture birthday blog body of christ book book review books busyness cat celebration celibacy celtic change charity chart child children christ christendom christmas chronicles church church history climate change coastguard colouring comedy commentary communications communion community compassion conference consumerism contemplation context conversation coronavirus covenant covid-19 creation creation care creativity cross crucifixtion cryptic culture cwtch daily prayer data day of the lord debate devotional diagram dictionary digital disagreement disciples discipleship discussion documentary easter ecclesiastes education effort elder brother emotion encouragement enemies environment environmentalism ethics evangelism event evidence ezekiel fable facebook fact check fair trade faith faitheism fake news father fear feast feeling fellowship feminism fiction film fireseeds flesh flourishing food foodbank forgiveness free freedom freshers fun fundraiser funny galatians game gay gay wedding genealogies generosity gifts giving god god's presence good good news gospel gospreflection grace gratitude great commission green growth guitar hagar health heart heaven hebrews history hoarding holy biscuit holy spirit home homosexuality hope hopelessness hospitality house hub humanism humour hymn identity in individualism infographic infographics inheritance insurance internet interview interviews ios jesus joel joke jonah joseph joy justice kindness kingdom kingdom of god law leaflet lectio divina legacy lennox lesbian levite lgbtq liberty library literal literature liturgy living out lockdown lord’s love lust magazine map mark mark's materialism matthew maturity meal meditation meditations memory mental health ministry mission missionaries moody moral morality move murray music nation new creation new year newcomers news non-fiction north east old testament online outreach palm sunday parable passover peace pentecost persecution perspective philosophy photo photography piano picture this thought podcast poem poetry political correctness pool night possessions post-christendom poverty power praise prayer prayer requests preaching presentation presents priest princess anne priorities prodigal son productivity project prophecy protection provision psalm publicity puzzle questions quiz quotes reading rebellion reconciliation redemption reference reflection relationship relationships relativism religion remembrance repentance rescue resource resources rest restoration resurrection retreat review reviews riches right and wrong royalty rules rush sabbath sacrifice same-sex attraction sarah scholarship science screens scripture scripture engagement secularism seed self esteem sermon sermon on the mount sex sexuality shalom sharing faith shopping showcase significance silence simplicity sin slavery smell social social action social media society software solitude song songs sonship soularium sources speaking spiritual gifts spirituality sproul spurgeon stations of the cross stats stewardship stone story stott student student life students study suffering supper support support discovery talk tech technology temple tft thank you thanksgiving theology time toby tools top trumps trading cards training transformation translation treasure treasure hunt trivia true freedom trust truth unity update utilities value video vine visual walk war wealth website websites wesley witnessing women words world worldview worry worship worth writing wrong wycliffe youtube ywam

Living Out is registered UK Charity no. 1165572
The Baptist Union is Charity no. 249635