Hanging at the Coffee Shop
It has been a while since I have written from a coffee shop, but this morning I am at an ol favorite CTC in Shakopee. We got notice that our office internet would be down for a portion of the morning sooo... Mobil office it is.
As I walked in this morning I felt like Norm returning to cheers after a couple of years away. It is a great feeling to walk into somewhere familiar, and yet different. They have moved some of the furniture around and they have a barista that I don't believe I have met before. But my favorite table (now in a new location) was open and ready for me to get to it.
After Covid, I think a lot of us are having these - back to the familiar moments. We have discovered that some things are the same and some things are not. Some of our favorite businesses are open, and some of them are not. Sometimes we find that we have been away so long, it almost feels funny to return. How about you? have you returned to those familiar places yet? I know many who have not yet returned to their old pattern of regular worship. Some think it might feel uncomfortable to return.
There once was a son who left the comforts of home, and took everything he could to get a fresh start on his home, away from the constraints of his family. It went well for a while - he was finding his grove. He had friends, and companions and was happy and content in his life until he wasn't. It seems that the whole economy of the area changed, and he found himself far away from home, and alone.
He tried his best to make it in this place he now called home, but jobs were hard to find, and his friends had all moved on. He did one day find a job, but it wasn't much and provided barely enough to survive. One day he remembered about home, his birth home, and his family that he was in such a hurry to escape. Their county was not affected by the crippled economy, his family was doing fine.
It had been so long, how could he go back home after all this time? It would only confirm that his parents were right. He should have stayed at home, he had all that he needed when he was at home. But he knew if nothing else his father would offer him a job, and it would certainly pay better than what he was doing. So off he went, back to his father's home.
If you haven't figured it out yet, this is Jesus' story we often call the "Prodigal Son." It's a story that has a remarkable ending, the father welcomed him home and was very excited to see him. To get all the details read Jesus' master telling of the story in Luke 15:11-32.
I think there are a lot of prodigals or strays in the kingdom who just don't know what it will feel like to go back home. As a pastor I know many who have left the church, to do life on their own - chart their own course - or maybe they have just been away, for no particular reason, and just think it would be hard to go back. If this is you, know that we would love to welcome you home. I would love to say everyone will welcome you with open arms, but if you remember the story Jesus told, not everyone welcomed him home...but that did not stop him. His father was over the top excited and that is what mattered.
If you are feeling prodigal, or know someone who is, perhaps it's a child, or a sibling let me give you a great first step. PRAY that the lord would give you or your prodigal the courage they need to find their way home. Oh yeah, and don't stop step one until they take step two and return. Then you move on to step three which is PRAY that the body of Christ would welcome them home, that their courage would remain strong, and that you would show them the excitement of the father who welcomes them.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7
Come on back, the coffee is great and we have a place for you at the table. (and the table doesn't even wobble.