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St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel St. At W. 14th Ave.

Vancouver, BC, V5Z 3T3


Phone: 604-877-1789

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca

Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:30 am - 1 pm

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us

Worship Times

Sunday Eucharist

10:30 am


Contemplative

Eucharist

Wednesday 7:00 pm


Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Sermon

March 24th Lent 4, 2019     John Marsh


Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32



The parable of the prodigal son is so well known that, perhaps, it need not be repeated…


Perhaps so well known so as not to be known…


So well allegorized so as not to be known as intended…


Most today, the Jewish New Testament scholar Amy Jill Levine preeminent among them, warn against allegorizing parables, this parable included…


Given the disastrous history of Jewish-Christian relations, in which the elder brother is cast as the recalcitrant, unrepentant brother, read Jewish, the younger brother cast as the repentant brother, read


Christian, embraced by the loving father/god, we can say, rightly so…


Such misreading harms more than it helps, destroying more than it discloses…


But, throwing caution to the wind – I’ve always been a bit of an ass – let’s allegorize away, being purposely playful, perhaps textually incorrect, hoping to hear something astir within the parable…


The parable of a Prodigal God – say what? - is a parable of a god, read father, remarkably, surprisingly, generous, some may read weak and foolish, in giving his child his share of the inheritance early, not knowing, perhaps suspecting, his riotous, dissolute plans…


This is the parable of a prodigal god, who, when his son hits bottom and returns ashamed, rushes out to meet/greet him, embracing and kissing him, throwing a celebration not demanding punishment…


A prodigal god whose compassion knows no bounds…


(Are we not stirred? Are we not hopeful?)


A prodigal god who so counted on his other son, his faithful service, his diligent work, that, though taken aback by his complaint, rushes to invite his eldest to the party as the party would not be complete without both present, reminding the eldest that whatever the father has belongs to the eldest, so come celebrate one that was lost but now is found…


A prodigal god whose profligate love knows no bounds, loving both opposed brothers…


(Are we not disturbed?)


What kind of god is this?


This god who loves both the righteous and the unrighteous, the dutiful and the undutiful, the faithful and the faithless…


Echoing dear Ebenezer…


Are there no rules, no standards, no expectations, no keeping of accounts?


Is there no justice, no punishment?


What kind of god is this?


Perhaps a god whose foolishness is wiser than our wisdom…


Perhaps the god of Jesus…


Perhaps a god stirring within the world…


Perhaps a god stirring within the madness of the kingdom…


Perhaps a god known in prodigal expressions of reconciliation…


Perhaps a god calling us…


Perhaps a god mad enough to call us as ambassadors of love, compassion and reconciliation…


Perhaps a god foolish enough to thrust into our trembling hands this ministry, this life…


Perhaps a god entrusting us…


Have you heard anything so foolish?