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Cross

Christianity
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The Prodigal Son

By E.S.John, Australia

The prodigality that bequeathed from the forbidden fruit has been our mate so far and will be within us as long as we are wrapped up within the framework of flesh and blood. It has been proved that prodigality is the product of selfishness that proved right at the instant of tasting the unlawful fruit. Adam transferred the responsibility to Eve with the excuse that she had been the reason for his downfall, so also Eve by the serpent, despite the fact that they themselves were their own guards who had the responsibility in protecting themselves.

The commandment was given to Adam, not to Eve or to the serpent in an explicit way. Accusation against one another has been the cradle of our life that started after the fall in Paradise. The spiritual death that they acquired by their own misdoings invited the physical death to their son Abel for offering a sacrifice to the Lord. Adamís spiritual death that brought physical death to him and unaccountable billions of his children has been our partner all along the course of history.

The first spiritual slaughter, not death, that took place at the proximity of the first altar where both brothers, Cain and Abel, offered a sacrifice to the Lord of all creations has become a model of our religious life that has supplied us with 2300 denominations and multiple number of cult worships. Instead of finding fault with each other, if our first parents had confessed their guilt, that would have absolved them from their sins, then the fate of mankind would have been shifted to a different plane of different mold.

In spite of them trying to bail out from their guilt, God didnít curse His creations. He cursed the serpent that deceived them. They concealed their sin of nakedness that forced them to hide themselves from the vicinity of God, but He (God) so loved the world that He gave His only Son for our eternal life. This inexplicable love of the Father who molded our body and breathed His Spirit into us is waiting for receiving His lost ones who are needed to fill the vacuum that exists in timelessness.

The parable of the Prodigal son (Lk.15: 11-32) is to be looked at in this perspective. The father divided his property between his 2 sons as demanded by his younger son. In accordance with the Jewish tradition, dividing the family property while father is alive is as equivalent of murdering the father. Eating the forbidden fruit while the fruit from the tree of life was abundantly available, Adam invited death to God, the inevitability that forced God sending down His Son to receive the mortality earned by Adam in this earth.

The father divided the property (living means) between the two sons at the request of the younger one. He was never told by the prodigal son that his intention was to sell his share that would provide him with enough money to go away to a far off place and live a lavish life. The loose freedom that he got by squandering his money for the passion of his flesh emptied everything that he bequeathed from the father.

The father who was eagerly waiting for him from the time of his disappearance saw him at a distance. His exhilaration was immense and inexplicable. His repentance of sinning against Heaven and his father brought him to reconciliation with the seen and unseen fathers. The feast that the father arranged and the best cloths are reminiscences of the bridal chamber where each returned/lost son gets the white garment of incorruption.

Every person has a duty to have a double life of serving the earthly household that in turn is a service of the celestial one. It is a fact that the prodigal one deceived and bereaved the father but his coming back is a joy to his family and the Heavenly household. We cannot rule out the truth that the elder son had been serving the ailing father who was agonizingly waiting upstairs looking for his sonís return. It was a crisis point for the elder one in looking after his father and everything in and around the house. We know that he was away in the field toiling and moiling under the scorching sun while his brother returned. For him, the younger one was a worry because he had to live on the income of his share, and also that that there was no guarantee that he was a converted person. He might do more havoc than before in boiling up the problems further.

We have no proof that the elder one came into the house to share their happiness. The father humbled down to come out of the house to take his estranged elder son in, just as he did to the other one. We have to assume that he didnít go in because the fatted calf, golden ring and all that was spent for the festivity all automatically belonged to him after the fatherís death. Everything and every relationship spins around money, the author of it is Mammon. Besides, organizing a feast that allowed the lost one to spend his time in merriment with his friends did not recognize his obedient service for all those years.

Peer group Association

Despite the parents' bringing up children with sufferings and difficulties, it is not greatly recognized, unless every individual detach oneself from others for the maturity of his/her inner growth. Just as the prodigal one enjoyed with his friends, the elder one, who was always at the household, also was waiting for mirth with his peer group. A father who lost a son and his property could not allow the remaining son to be part of the wider society that gulps all the sinful facet of life. This reminds us of the Creator who lost the elder son Lucifer wooing the next son, Adam, to his perdition. This could be the reason for the kindling of jealousy in the elder son. Anything that we do will have an opposite or reactionary side that curtails our freedom and good will. The father was clear-cut in handling both sonsí ensuing problems, but had been thwarted away by the repelling or rebellious vehemence that is inherent in our whole being. Man is muddled with inextricable and inexorable improbabilities that only can be untied by the Creator who formed everything for good, but turned around by the tasting of the forbidden fruit.

Modern Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and Zealots

Religion is meant to be an antidote for our spiritual anemia. But this is a playground where the devil wriggles around for making everything demonized. The modern religious environment is a copycat of the religious proclivities of the Jewish hierarchy during the time of Jesus Christ who only could have been crucified at the ripeness of that particular time factor. There are leftists, rightists and centrists in todayís everyday Christianity. The prodigal sonís father is caught in between the dilemma of his two sonsí lax life and unforgivable mentality. The reunion between the father and the prodigal son was a blessed occasion that was triggered by jealousy and vengeance created by the gaiety and merriment of the celebrations. It would have been altogether a different situation, provided there were no dances and festival moods. The leftist and rightist sections, representing the elder son, of modern Christians claim vociferously that their followers, not others, are the only ones entitled to have salvation; they claim that all others are destined to the blazing fire of hell. They see themselves as extreme poles that inculcate a militant theology of corrosive philosophy.

While one group claims that they have the key to the gate of Heaven, the other group emphasizes that the key they claim to be holding only can open the Hades where they all will be locked up forever one day. The opposite group clamors that they donít have to even go to the gate of Heaven because they are saved right now at the point of this moment. They segregate themselves from all the festivities of opposite churches, nor do they go to the funeral of their own relatives of different denominations. They treat others as the philistines of old. They donít even offer any charitable work to any one apart from the members of their own group. There is no indication anywhere that the prodigal one wanted to find out his elder brother before taking part in the mirth and merriment arranged by the father. His main intention was seemingly to please his father who holds the key to the wealth of his brother.

A minority section, representing the father of the parable, confesses that its members are sinners who are like tax collectors and outcasts like Mary Magdalene and the leper. There was only one church in the beginning like the father of the two, and the other two are the products of the original one. Our aim to predate upon others, like Cain, is the root cause of all our failures and destruction. While living in the N.T. Period, we live like the O.T. Israelites who defied the Holy Oneís commandments and treated oneís brother as a prey of oneís destructive passions. We venerate the kindling love of the Redeemer while living as animals that predate upon one another. The haunting of the Beast that comes from the bottom, Rev. 13, to haunt on the Antichrist takes place only when the vast majority of the world inhabitants are converted to brutal animals that welcome the infernal predator. The love that kindles everything into beauty, the ligua-fraca of communication medium, disappeared altogether between individual-to-individual, parish-to-parish, church-to-church or religion-to-religion. No human value can flourish where the marketing economy of greed and the teeth of consumerism dominate upon everything. ď Need make the naked man runĒ. The humane and moral values and concepts that prevailed in a natural economy is an anathema to the modern human species of apes.

The middle stream Christians who kept the lamp of the Christian mysticism burning cannot exist in a society where the leftist and rightist churches, the Pharisees and the Sadducees or the elder and the younger brothers, predate upon one another. Man and the universe runs on certain delicate formula of laws and rules. Our faith and worship also reciprocates around this principle of relativity. Twisting any sacrosanct principles on the basis of biblical verses and social norms is the intrinsic beauty of Godís word by that either man selects his own gutter spirituality or attains spiritual maturity. Most of the simple sentences in the Bible have multifarious meanings that focus on mystical many-sidedness. Making generalizations for serious mystical judgements ends up in confusion that derails our thinking and personality.

We have many celebrations and sacramental observances that adore the greatness and glory of God. As we are only a puff of the wind, we donít have any right to celebrate any of our ephemeral greatness. Anything other than worshipping God is deity worship. The first 4 Mosaic commandments pulverize the statutes and covenants given to the Israelites. Many of them who became the prey of the wrath of God couldnít grasp the underlying principles involved in them because they were only the shades of mysteries that are to be accomplished by the sacrifice of the Lamb. We cannot blame the Jews because they were living in the shadows, but we canít be exonerated by whatever excuses we present now. The church for 20 centuries havenít got involved in any deity worship, despite we have accepted some local customs.

One should realize that we havenít done any celebrations that involve deity worship for all these years; inviting such things into the Body Of Christ is idol worship, the god of which is the prosperity gospel of real estate and corporate commercial spirituality of today. Any one in this global democratic set up can enjoy or do whatever one wants, but the church that caters spiritual food for all members canít bring any form of profligacy into the parish or church life. The present Church is the likely product of the Pharisee and Sadducee religion that like marble covers a multitude of infirmities. These developments are the product of the association with other religions and faith, affluence, boom and the interdenominational matrimony, the root cause of the demise of virgin faith. Apart from the adverse influence of heretical churches of right and left, there are influence from other ingredients of observances and rituals.

Pharisee Elements

Celebrations like 8-day fasting that embraces the falsehood of immaculate conception, birthday and wedding day drunken melee, fatherís and motherís day business enterprises, equality in parish decision making venues that definitely will lead to ordination and consecration of members of both sexes, and so on, invite a spiritual pandemonium in the modern church venues. These are the arts of mortals trying to immortalize themselves.

Sadducees Elements

There is no church that has not been affected by charismatic Christianity. The Emotional Christianity that mainly runs by the fuel of ego, self-propulsion, selfishness, etc. that exemplifies in all these celebrations of the flesh erase out the contrite heart of glorifying God. This image of Lucifer is the one that kills the pure church at the end of this aeon.

Embracing the yeast of both sections of Christianity invited the death of the original Christian faith. No control at all in our daily life that is pulverized with drinking, dancing, participating in cultural programs that glorify the epicurean philosophy and sexual immoralities. The dead are gone, no meaning in praying for them because it is the business of God to look after them, they teach. Fasting and prayer are not needed because God knows our frailties.

So many such things run the churches of today; I donít have room to explain all these. While cherishing a life of leavened bread, such people attribute their yeast on others nicknaming others as of Pharisees and Sadducees mould. Even gluttony is a sin, or loving oneís spouse and children without giving the highest glory to God is a sin. We have only excuses, not deliberations in correcting ourselves. We all filter the mosquito while swallowing the elephant. At least try to stick on to the externals, so that they might open up our inner senses that lead us to the unending ocean of realties one day.

But we have gone too far, believers. The mainstream churches that kept the statutes and covenants have become mere fossils in the fossil energy that magnetize the modern Christianity. The father representing the middle stream Christianity is only a fossil because the rightist and leftist Christianity, the two sons of the father, has swerved away from the fatherís wish. The custodians of the apostolic Christianity doomed to perish on account of its traffic with the mundane celebrations and ephemeral glamour, whetted by the dimensions of the lust of the flesh.

The charismatic Christianity that has sold the shares of the apostolic faith is brimmed with the emotional outbursts and hysterical maladies of the sub-cultural ailments. Both sons, the rightist and leftist denominations, of the father, the ailing virgin faith of the early church, are fit to be written off by the Heavenly Father, yet there is a glow of the spirit due to the repentance of the prodigal one that has been brought in for an expensive festival. Who knows whether the elder one has gone in for merriment after the mediation of the father? The prodigal one, despite having lost everything, repented, but we wait for the elder one to be remorseful and considerate of the other for sharing his wealth with the prodigal one who squandered everything for consuming his bodily passions. The elder one was mending fences of his fields, but stayed outside the home, knowing that his brother is inside. ď Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the moreĒ ĖLk.12: 48. Both sons will have to repent for their transgressions, the elder one for his hard-heartedness, the younger one for his tactful avoidance of the elder one and cultivating a lustful life of the flesh. Looking closely at the mirror of the parable of the Prodigal son, one can see the ironclad outer image of elder son covering-up his transparent inner image of Prodigal son.

The Christianity of today should avoid this bottleneck that can disallow us to own our Heavenly Fatherís inheritance. The prodigality that so far keeping us away from the Fatherís bliss is a real hindrance to our unity and concordance. This prodigality that budded in the Garden of Eden has been preying upon us all along the course of our biting relationship that is an apple of discord still widening the gulf. If repented and forgiven each other, both sons will have a share in the Eternal Home of the Father in Heaven.ď Fear not, little flock, for it is your fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdomĒ- Lk.12: 32.

(Editor's Note: E.S. John is a member of Indian Orthodox Church now living in Australia.)

See Also:

Why Jesus Spoke in Parables
The parables beginning in Matthew 13 reveal the mystery of the spiritual kingdom as service from the heart to Christ as King.† The Lord Jesus is teaching in these parables that the kingdom of heaven is within you; it is established on the throne of your heart.†

Serving God Always
It is so important to realize that we need Christ in our everyday life just as much as we do for eternity. Much teaching says that salvation is something that happens after we die. That is not right. We need salvation every day. We need that perfect peace of Christ in our hearts under all circumstances.

God's Love
The greatest power in the world is not the Hydrogen bomb, but it is the redeeming love of God. The Hydrogen bomb may destroy the whole world but only the redeeming love of God can make it anew.

God Knows Us Continually
This gospel teaches us one of the most blessed assurances Christ's church has for its eternal security. If it depended upon us following the Lord, then we could fall away, but it is not possible because He has engraved us upon the palms of His hands for eternity.

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