Embraced by Grace: The Prodigal's Homecoming


As I sit here, reflecting on the journey that brought me back to the warmth of my father's embrace, my heart is heavy with both sorrow for my past and gratitude for the unearned grace I've been given. My story, much like the one Jesus shared, is not just about my own recklessness and eventual repentance, but more profoundly about my father's character—a mirror of the heavenly Father's heart.

I was young, arrogant, and hungry for freedom that I thought only distance and independence could offer. Driven by this misguided desire, I approached my father with a demand that now twists my gut in shame: my share of the inheritance, effectively wishing him dead to my present. With a heavy heart, he complied, allowing me to chart my own course—a decision that led me to squander everything in a far-off land, engulfed in a life of excess until I was left with nothing.

The famine that struck was not just of the land but of my spirit. In my deepest despair, hired out to feed swine, I ached with hunger—not just for food but for the warmth and love of my home. It was then, in my utter destitution, that I finally saw the depth of my folly and the even greater depth of my father's love and patience. Despite my unworthiness, I yearned to return, hoping for nothing more than to be considered a servant in his household.

As I made my way back, rehearsing my plea for forgiveness, I was met with a sight that would forever change me. My father, who had every right to disown me or meet me with justified wrath, ran to me. His sprint was not just of feet but of heart—a heart that had been watching and waiting for me, not with condemnation but with hope for my return. The embrace and kiss I received were not what I deserved but were vivid illustrations of divine grace and mercy. In that moment, my father didn't just welcome me back; he restored my identity as his son, cloaking me in robes that symbolized acceptance and belonging far beyond what I had dared to hope for.

Reflecting on this, I see how my father's actions echo the heavenly Father's heart as revealed in the Scriptures. His grace and mercy, freely given despite my rebellion, mirror God's own nature—rich in love, even when we are spiritually bankrupt (Ephesians 2:4-5). His unconditional love, demonstrating that nothing could sever our bond—not my betrayal, not the distance, not the depth of my fall—speaks to the truth that nothing can separate us from God's love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

My father's patience, his waiting and watching for my return, reflects God's own patience, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The joy he expressed upon my return, the celebration that ensued, mirrored the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents—a joy that God Himself feels (Luke 15:7).

Finally, the invitation extended to my older brother, who struggled to understand this grace, echoes God's invitation to all. It's a call to share in the joy and fellowship that comes from reconciliation and grace (Revelation 3:20), urging every soul to partake in the divine feast of redemption.

My journey back to my father's house was a journey back to God's heart. It taught me about the depths of divine love—a love that waits, welcomes, restores and rejoices over every lost child who finds their way home. Through my story, I've come to understand not just my earthly father's heart but the heart of our heavenly Father, whose love, grace, mercy, patience, and joy are boundless, inviting us all into an eternal embrace.

Inspired by "The Parable of the Prodigal Son." (Luke 15)

Fr. Abraam Sleman



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