A prodigal’s return

A prodigal demands with clenched fists what was considered an outrageous violation in Palestinian culture of the first century; a request that speaks of dishonour and the separation of relationship. 
Give me “now” of what is mine; a demand to live without restrictions, rebuffing the love of the one who waits.
Time turns and fortunes fail. 
Squatting between the pens of pigs, amidst the stench, lips murmur prayer even as a deep wound bleeds within a soul, ragged and torn as the clothes upon his back.
As he looks towards the sky, fear enters his heart even as his feet turn towards home.  Right from the beginning, from the first morning after the money was taken, the prodigal knew the cost.
Shards of broken clay to denounce his birth with their shattering sound.  A breaking of all that was is what awaits him. Kezazah. (1) An outcast, no longer family.
Dirty rags cover a heart of shame as hunger gnaws both his heart and his soul. The sound of breaking clay echoes in his soul as their piercing shards cut and the masquerade is over.  His heart turns towards the place he once called home.
In nakedness of soul this one waits to hear the sound of the jeering crowd as with faltering steps he stumbles and falls, crying out with a heart that splits and leaks with acidic pain, “Not worthy.  Not a son.  Make me a servant.”
Lifting downcast eyes he looks to see his father running ahead of the horde with their wagging tongues; their sticks and pots.
Extravagant love of a father who sacrifices honor and position for this one he calls “Beloved” and the crowd of community is silenced and the pot of disgrace, unbroken.
Something hallowed, a love gift that crowns a broken soul with worth.  A robe to cover the shame, a ring to restore that which was lost and shoes for the feet of a child battered and bruised from sin.  A kiss of grace bestows beauty amidst the dirt and grime.
Visible love and extravagant grace are seen in the story of a father’s love.  A love, wild and free, that crowns a life with beauty and significance. 

Luke 15: 20 – 24And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” And they began to make merry.

A Love Gift


Something hallowed
Yet wild and free
A love gift
That crowns
The unlovable with beauty
And caresses of grace
Peel away
Layers of the heart
With deepest intimacy
That leaves a soul
Naked
Unmasked
The masquerade is over
And the one, once wracked 
With insecurity
Turns into Love

“His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend.” ~Song of Solomon 5:1


(1)Kezazah
If a Jewish boy, in first-century Palestine, wastes his family inheritance among Gentiles and then dares to return home, the village performs what is called the kezazah ceremony. In this ceremony, the village breaks a large pot in front of the boy, symbolically portraying and officially proclaiming the separation between the boy and the village. 
The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants by Dr. Kenneth E. Baile


Do you condemn yourself?

It wasn’t intentional, the sin, but night had fallen and so had I.  The weariness of soul brimmed and spilled.  A voice without words pressed and pushed until thoughts became actions that gave wings to things that should not be.
Sprained and limping was my soul as I sought to erase what I had done even as snippets of memory burned like acid rain.
Tears fell in silence as shadows of sorrow began to fill a heart that wanted to cut away the actions too painful to recall. 
The accuser whispered words of condemnation.  The repeated theme attempts to swirl smoky tendrils like chains around the heart.
Fingers point at this one crippled by sin she knows so well. 
My hand clutches the stone I willingly will cast at my own sin.
Guilty is the anthem that stings my broken heart as the memory brings me low into the dust. 
In the dust I find a covenant written in blood. Grief floods my heart as I bend to touch that promise etched by nail-scarred palms.
The stone rolls away.

John 8:10-11
 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I.
Go and sin no more.

*His forgiveness is extended to you this day.  No matter what you have done.  No matter how far you have fallen.  His grace raises you up even as His blood washes whiter than snow.  
Even though your heart may condemn you, God is greater than our heart. (1 John 3:20)