On March 27, 2022, I preached a sermon on the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32) at the Congregational Church of Middlebury. The essence of the sermon goes like this. We all get lost. And we all have a choice about what to do when that happens. It’s a choice that Henri Nouwen – in his lovely book The Return of the Prodigal Son – described as the choice between wallowing in our lostness or returning to our basic blessedness. That choice sounds easier than it is – but there’s courage to be found in the 20th verse. “But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”

The sermon ends like this:
while we still feel alone,
while we still feel unseen,
while we still feel unforgiven,
while we still feel unloved,
while we still feel unlovable.
Whatever it is, while we are still far off,
even then, God sees us,
in our aching need, and in our perfect, God-given beauty.
Even then, God is filled with compassion.
Even then, God is running towards us,
arms stretched wide, ready to draw us in.
Even then.
Even now.
Thanks be to God.

The sermon can be viewed on the Congregational Church of Middlebury’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/AYr_ct_YD88 . The text can be downloaded from the Preaching page of this website.

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