Prayer for the day
The LORD is King; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad.
Scripture for the day
The story of the Prodigal Son is probably one of the most well-known among the stories of the Christian Scripture. It is a wonderful story of a return after a long absence, of forgiveness after repentance. It is a joyful and an exemplary story, giving hope to those who may have wandered far from the fold of their God.
The word of the Lord coming through Jeremiah precedes and anticipates the story of the Prodigal Son, showing instead the Prodigal Daughter, Israel, who has wandered far from the Father. This wandering is not an innocent “running-away” story, but a wanton disregard for God, a desire to be far from the one who loves. This is the story of the daughter/bride who has not only abandoned her God, but who has disgraced herself, seeking the pleasures of others. Yet even in her disgraced state, God declares He will do something new, something unexpected. God will bring back the wayward people, and be their God, and they will be this God’s people. God will renew her, remake her, and present her again to Himself. He will welcome her.
Paul picks up the thread of this story as he seeks to encourage Philemon, a friend and fellow-worker, to welcome back run-away slave Onesimus. Paul speaks to Philemon as someone with spiritual authority, but appeals to the spiritual brotherhood they share in Christ, asking that Onesimus be welcomed not as a former slave but as a brother in Christ, someone who is to be valued not for his intrinsic worth but for his great worth in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the church.
May we so see people returning and treat them the same, welcoming them in the love of Christ.