With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” (1942)

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He answered his father, "Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him." Then his father said, "Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found."

Luke 15:29-32

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At the beginning of Jesus’ parable, we quickly deduce that the “lost” son is the younger son. By the end, however, Jesus surprises us with the revelation that there is more than one way to be lost. Just like the religious leaders who scoff at Jesus’ radical hospitality, the older son is just as lost as his brother in the pig trough.

But just as there’s more than one way to be lost, Jesus reminds us that there’s more than one way to be found, more than enough grace to go around.

Even as the older son refused to come in to the party, the father refused to close the door on him. And even if a servant had closed and sealed the gates, you get the impression that the father would have just busted through the locks anyway. Grace works like that.

It runs out to meet us when we return, but it also runs out to meet us when we’re not ready to come back.

Dave McNeely

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God, when I feel distant from you, help me to remember that there is no distance your grace is not willing to travel to meet me. Even when I feel far from you, remind me that, even there, your grace is available. Amen.

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As you go, may your heart be forever anchored in the welcoming heart of God.

As you go, may you experience the joy of love rushing out to meet you on your path.

As you go, may the future paved by forgiveness lead you in the path of everlasting joy.

Dave McNeely

Dave McNeely currently serves as the Faith & Justice Scholars Coordinator and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, where he is a member of First Baptist Church. He is married to Mandy and has two children, Christopher and Noah.

I Surrender All

Mark Hayes

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