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Summary: Imagine with me a world where love and forgiveness triumphed over hurt and rejection.

The Ache To Love:

Luke 15:11-32 August 21, SDC Sunday 2005


What is worth living your life for?

I believe that deep within each of us lies a heartache. Down in the deep places, the places we often avoid and try to hide, the places we try to avoid. The places we are afraid of. There is an ache there, which we think will unravel us if we entertain it. We think it will undo us, embarrass us, destroy us. It is like a closet buried deep in the basement, which we know is full of garbage and clutter and stuff we didn’t want to look at and so we shut it away, locked the door, and tried to forget about it. But it doesn’t work – we always know it is there, we know we will have to deal with it, and we even recognize the rotting, revolting smell is coming from deep within and needs to be cleaned out.

But in fact, the opposite is true. Confronting that ache liberates us, empowers us, puts us together, takes the meandering, purposeless, meaningless wandering of our lives and harnesses it to significance.

At the root of it, that ache is the ache to love. Note this: not the ache to be loved, but rather the ache to love. Can you imagine a world where you could love fully? Unashamably?? Without reservation???

Let me tell you an old story.

Luke 15:11-32 (NLT)

"A man had two sons. 12The younger son told his father, `I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13"A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living. 14About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. 16The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17"When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, `At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! 18I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man." ’

20"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21His son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]’

22"But his father said to the servants, `Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. 23And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, 24for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25"Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27`Your brother is back,’ he was told, `and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28"The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29but he replied, `All these years I’ve worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.’

31"His father said to him, `Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. 32We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’ "

The Call to Love:

Imagine a world where you were free to love like the father in this story. He had been betrayed, taken advantage of, rejected, and deeply deeply hurt. Think of what the son took from the father – yes he took cash, in fact he took half of everything the father had, and threw it away; but he also took the trust the father had in him and threw it away. He took the years of parenting, shaping, molding, teaching, encouraging, and he threw those away. Perhaps worst of all, he took the love that the father had for him and he threw that away. He rejected it all.

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