Summary: To accept our contrite brethren into our Church-fold once they genuinely repent of their sins...
When God ‘prays’…
Needless to say, this kind of title is bound to raise eye-brows & any media mogul with a nose for sensationalism is bound to capitalize on News as SENSATIONAL as the Creator Himself praying.
Keeping the core content of my message in suspense let me continue to dwell awhile on the media or to be more specific on the Indian electronic media. Those of us who grew up satisfying ourselves with the bland News coverage of Doordarshan (Indian National TV Channel) were swept off the feet literally in late 1980s’ & mind you it was an enjoyable experience getting ‘swept off the feet’ when one suave bearded gent answering to the name Pranoy Roy appeared in the TV screen as an anchor for a programme which claimed to encapsulate all the World events of a week. News is News is News, so what was New about that News? The News about that News was its slick presentation, so much so it can be said without any iota of doubt that the ‘The World this week’ (name of that programme)with creative flair of its producers oozing, revolutionized News presentation in the Indian Electronic media, like none other before it. The News coverage would never be the same again in the History of Indian Electronic media. The icing on the cake as regards this programme was, it would invariably end with clippings of bizarre events…like for instance of a goalkeeper scoring a goal & what a goal it was! If I am not mistaken in late 80s’, there was that rare clipping of that eccentric Colombian goalie Rene Higuita in a local league encounter with his team –a goal down- staring right down the barrel in the dying minutes of the game dribbling all the way into the penalty box of the opposing team & slotting the ball in.
Why did I introduce this interlude in my message? The reason is, God ‘praying’ would sound just as bizarre to some of us with fixed mindsets. Before, I go any further I would like to make it abundantly clear, the very purpose of me expounding this theme is to bring to the fore ‘the infinite love of God for his most cherished creation…Man’.
While on the subject of ‘God in action’, some imaginary postures of God float in & out of our mind’s eye, most of which I ought to add here are those, which are ‘acceptable’ to the majority. No one would object to a poster depicting God in the posture of answering prayers to a man on his knees or for that any poster which would portray Him as superior to man…which anyway is an undeniable truth, so how would we with refined spiritual sensitivities categorize a scene where God entreats puny, fallible, irreverent man. Even given His boundless love to man, would He ever condescend to such a level of pleading with flesh and blood man? Do we see such a scene in the Bible?
Yes, I would like to answer in the affirmative but before even taking a proverbial step, I would like to herald that God condescends to this level only in order we -the faithful lot- ‘accept a rescued sinner’ and NOT FOR ANYTHING ELSE, lest a mistaken view emerge in our minds that the Creator has become weak.
Now, permit me to come to the point. Even while pondering at the turn of events of that famous parable of the ‘The Prodigal Son’, let us never lose sight of the symbolic roles of each one of the characters in that oh-so-memorable parable (Luke 15:11-32). If to the prodigal son belonged the role played by many a contrite sinner, then that of his forgiving father was representative of a loving God. Period.
When the self-righteous elder son, who presumed inadvertently that he was the very definition of filial fidelity, refused to accept his penitent younger brother, what did the father do? HE PRAYED ENTREATINGLY TO HIM TO WELCOME HIS ERRANT BUT NOW PENITENT SIBLING (Luke 15:28)! Now, let us freeze this frame.
What does it teach us? What lessons does this moving picture of an infinitely superior God pleading with His followers’ harboring a holier-than-thou disposition, hold for us today? More than anything else, it screams that if GOD FORGIVES A SINNER, WE SHOULD TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT! WHO ARE WE TO HOLD OUT AGAINST GOD’S GRACE!
Sadly, when a penitent Christian comes back onto the right track & wants to make amends for his mistakes, we are often the last ones’ to reconcile with him. If by using our God-given common sense, we can make out that the penitence of our contrite brother in faith is genuine, we ought to welcome him with open arms, rather than giving him a cold shoulder. Shame on us, if we play the contemptuous elder brother! The fact that God himself is pleading with us on behalf of the errant one should melt our stony hearts.