Forums in Lent 2013
The Way of Reconciliation: From Injury to Restoration
The story of the Prodigal Son provides Christians with a framework for understanding the shape and risks of reconciliation. It is a story that narrates the injury and restoration between a son and a father, but is used by Jesus to address the broader theme of reconciliation within social and religious relations. In an important sense, the Prodigal Son operates as a paradigm for how people of faith come to the real and difficult task of addressing wrongs in order that relations be restored. Yet, at another level, it is also a paradigm for the work of reconciliation in general for it gestures towards a broader view of restoration that is not simply concerned with the interpersonal, but also with the political, economic, religious, and environmental realms. In other words, the Prodigal Son parable provides us with an imaginative pattern, a particular way of interpreting the world, that has the goal of restoration at its core, whether referring to a son and father, or between embattled communities.
The season of Lent can be read as the journey of the injuring and the injured to full restoration through the merits of Jesus. From his testing in the desert to his dramatic entry into Jerusalem, the journey of Lent details how the way of Jesus is the way of reconciliation. And like the parable he tells of the son and father, the message of Lent into intertwined with finding the way to restore people to each other, and all things to God.
This Lent, the Prodigal Son parable guides our exploration into the way of reconciliation through the major facets of our life. Like the parable, reconciliation is not the easy way, the path of cheap grace, for the task of restoration whether in political conflict or familial discord, requires careful and patient attention to the injury caused and the restoring of what is ruptured. To this work, our Lenten series gives focus.