Saturday, April 30, 2016

Party All Night---
The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.” 
― Frederick Buechner

A Parable...

There was going to be a party. The invitations were going out, the preparations were being made. The food was being ordered to prepare, the special decorations shipped in daily for the festivities.

The whole town was buzzing about it, so were other towns who had friends who were lucky enough to get invited. Coffee shops, grocery stores, pharmacies, all brimming with anticipation of the fun weekend that was in the works.

There weren't parties like this very often. Mostly days around here subsisted of the usual routines of life: work, bills, small get-togethers, church and evening tea and coffee.

Clarence had a trust fund. He went to a private school and wore khakis and oxford shirts, never jeans and t-shirts. He was a good friend. He tutored inner city kids for free, helped at the community center. He had friends from all socio- economic classes, from the rich to the average, to the poor. He had a well-liked mother and father, they funded the church outreach programs with their giving alone.

Clarence opened doors, collected recycling and helped at blood drives. He got straight A's in school and was always at church, had an after school job 3 days a week at the local deli. He was going far, people expected great things from Clarence.

Seth had a drug problem. He went to an alternative school after getting kicked out of so many schools and being blacklisted as a problem student. He wore dirty clothes, smoked cigarettes and told dirty jokes that made people feel uncomfortable. Seth lived on the streets, on purpose, he didn't want his mom and dad enforcing any rules he didn't agree with. Many interventions had failed. Seth stole money whenever he could and had gotten his parents into many a legal scrape.

Seth was in and out of jail, had difficulty keeping a job and never helped anyone but himself. Nobody liked Seth. He had his fair share of chances. Chances run out you know.

The party was set. The food was prepared. The guests were arriving. The mayor was there, ambassadors from other countries were there. Famous celebrities, Nobel prize winners, prestigious people, the well admired, the well respected.

People stood in line at the gold and purple paneled doors to gain entrance. Security checked them in. Dragging in late, after the festivities were in full swing, was Seth. Security double checked their roster with wide eyes, he was on the list. He threw his invitation at the guards and sauntered in.

People gasped audibly as the dirty, foul mouthed miscreant of a boy made his way to the buffet, no plate in hand just hand picking and shoving the delicacies in his mouth. Nobody expected him at the party. Nobody wanted him at the party. People gave him a wide berth, except the host. Laughing with charm and wit, the host swept up Seth in a giant bear hug and welcomed him in.

Where's Clarence? People began to ask. He should be here, not his brother.

Luke 15:32b, ”...he was lost and has been found.’”

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