This Sunday is the 4th Sunday IN Lent.  This Sunday is also known as “Laetare Sunday.”  “Laetare” is Latin for “Rejoice” and it is one of two Sundays in the liturgical year when the color is “Pink.”

 Why do we need a “Rejoice” Sunday in Lent?  It’s because Lent was instituted as a time of fasting and meditation, and the church came to recognize that by the 4th Sunday, people needed a break from it all.

The assigned lectionary gospel text from Luke 15 is one of the most famous and familiar stories in Scripture, “The Story of the Prodigal Son.”  It is a story well know to all of us.  Restless, impatient for his future happiness, he comes and demands from the father that which he thought was rightfully his.  He took his money and travelled to a faraway place where he wastes the money and his life and ended up – feeding hogs.

There seems to be no hope of him experiencing new life.  But at this point Jesus says, he came to his senses,” went home.  He found his father longing, looking, and waiting for his return with open arms and threw a huge celebration.” The story doesn’t end there, the older brother is angry at the reception and celebration their father is throwing for his brother and refuses to go in and celebrate with them.  The father comes out to speak to him, encouraging him to look beyond his disappointment and anger and come welcome home this brother who had been lost to the family’s love, acceptance, and support.   

What’s unique about this very family story is that Jesus never tells us how the old brother responds.  Perhaps it because Jesus wants us to decide where we are at the parable’s end.  Are we inside the party celebrating?  Or are we standing outside with our arms folded refusing to come in?  It’s an open question for us still in 2022.  God invites us to experience new life by coming to our senses, as did the younger brother to God’s love and forgiveness.  

Join us this Pink Sunday for worship IN-PERSON, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream.  My sermon is “Experience New Life:  Come to Your Senses.”  It’s based on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.