I’ve been reflecting on our [what should be] compulsion, as disciples, to live gratefully and thankfully, as Jesus Himself modelled.
And though I’ve just started One Thousand Gifts, I’m already being blessed by its contents:
“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.”
– Alexander Schmemann
I’m so scared of abundance. And yet God describes Himself as loving lavishly. Giving generously. I am particularly attached to the parable of the prodigal son. The Father’s overwhelming response to His wayward child has lately been bringing me to tears:
And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.
But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
Luke 15:20-24 (NLT)
This is the Father showing the Son what his sonship looks like. The son wants to plead “I am no longer worthy” but the Father interrupts him with a lavish party – unnecessary and extravagant. Grace.
In Henri Nouwen’s reflection on the parable, he submits that it is the son’s responsibility to eventually take over for the Father. Will he be able to administer grace in this same way? Like the son, are we able to know and model the grace our Father shows us?
Truly, it’s only if we’ve experienced it. If we know its lavish extents. If we are actually thankful. If we find ourselves unable to live a life of eucharist, of thanksgiving, maybe we haven’t seen grace yet. Like the older son in the same parable, maybe we need to re-look at the fact that, as the Father says, “Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours” (v. 31). Grace.