Monday, May 4, 2015

Celebrating the Return

Like you, I have read many times the story of the prodigal son.  Have talked about it in Sunday School, have thought of myself in each of the roles.  Until last week I thought I understood it all.

But then...

Last week I sat in the temple and watched him, the previously prodigal.  Watched him watch her as they knelt together at the altar, watched the light in his eyes that had been gone for so long.  Watched his mother watch them both.

I could never have imagined the surge of joy I would feel to see him there-- I, not even his mother. It burned in my heart and spilled onto my cheeks.  And in that moment I understood what I had not before.  Yes, the father loved the older son who was always with him.  To that son would go all that the father had.  But oh, how the father needed to celebrate the return of the prodigal.  Because the father had hoped and prayed and watched and waited for his return.  The father had worried and doubted and then prayed and watched some more.

And when it finally did happen, when the son came back--well, it was unimaginable.  The combination of relief and happiness created a joy rarely felt before.

Let us eat and be merry indeed.  For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found.  Rejoice!