We Will Be Found

March 31, 2019

Today’s Gospel message is very powerful.  It is one of sadness and pain, one of jealousy and rivalry.  It is a common place in which we find ourselves.  In the story of the Prodigal Son we can find ourselves relating to both sons.  At times we want our own way in our own time.  Give me my inheritance now.  The lack of patience is hurtful to the father.  The lack of wisdom is also a concern.  Yet with freedom given, the child must find his own way.  How often on the path have we felt we knew more than anyone else and God’s redemptive love would be right where we wanted it?  The other child felt if he obeyed all the rules, he would receive more and he would be better than his brother.  That pathway was one of going through the motions to get what one wants.  It was the position of earning the father’s favor.  God’s redemptive love cannot be earned.  Jealousy and anger fills the older son’s response.  The path he proposed was one of thinking he was better than others because he followed the rules.  In this parable the mystery of God’s redemptive love is revealed.  It is revealed most clearly in the unexpected and relentless pursuit of the father.  He is one directional.  He goes out from his place to meet both children right where they are.  That is the energy and joy of this Gospel.

In the reconciliation services for our parish children this Lent we used the Story of the Lost Sheep. I asked the children where they hide in the game of Hide and Go Seek.  They gave simple answers such as “in a cabinet”, “under the bed” and “in the bathtub.”  Yet while it is a simple game when we are young, as we get older we still hide things in our lives.  We hide the truth, we hide our sin, we hide our mistakes and our embarrassing moments.  Teens use fake Instagram accounts to hide their true selves.  It is a dilemma we all face.  The truth is often hidden.  More often, pain is hidden.

About a month ago I read a book entitled “Dear Evan Hansen.”  It has gained fame by winning a few Tony awards as a musical.  It was an interesting read about the difficulties of truth, fitting in and being accepted.  It was also filled with insights about the drive within everyone to be noticed and accepted.  One of the songs from the musical is entitled, “We Will Be Found.”  It is a song with a message; a message of hope.  We are not alone, no matter how terrible we feel.  There is always a hand to help us up.  One hand that will always be there is the one of Jesus.

When I think of the Gospel, I realize and know I will be found.  I realize even in the depths of my sin, I will be found.  Jesus offers us an insight into the relentlessness of a heavenly Father who goes out to each of His children and finds them right where they are.  He does not shame them.  He loves them.  Jesus died for our sins. He wants to find us where we are hiding.  He wants to heal the sins we have hidden.  He wants us to take Him to the places in our lives that need healing.  Jesus tells the parable of a one directional Father who finds us.  This is not about where we hide or what we hide.  It is about the energy of a relentless heavenly Father going out to find us.

This week, allow yourself to be found.

Reverend  John J. Ouper