Shall we start with Luke 15:11-32?
I once started a week of teaching at youth camp with this parable, and if you think about it, the internet has a whole lot in common with youth camp.
This parable teaches that God is in the business of seeking and saving lost and wandering people. And boy, business is a-booming.
The setup for the story is found at the beginning of the chapter: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'”
The religious leaders were none-too-happy that Jesus was spending his time, you know, seeking and saving sinners. Jesus, ever the equal-opportunity pursuer, shows there’s no type of sinner he won’t go after.
Exhibit A: The parable of the man who had two sons.
The younger son in the parable is selfish and shortsighted. He’s an ingrate. He’s the party boy that’ll do whatever it takes to make Saturday night memorable.
The older brother in the parable is scrupulous and proud of it. He is rich in works but poor in relationship. He is like your uncle who stayed at home to “take care of his parents,” but his hatred for them and his siblings is a menace, darkening the home.
And yet, to the younger, the father in the parable, “ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” and to the older, he “went out and pleaded with him” to return home.
So, dear reader, Jesus is going out to you, whichever of the sons you’re more like right now.
If you’re still at home, but want to leave. If you’ve left the faith, secretly or openly, and are trying to live it up elsewhere while your resources dwindle. If you’re beat up by the world and slowly coming to your senses. If you’re already walking back home (or considering it) and wondering how God will receive you. If you’ve been pacing just outside of the house, angry at God for what he’s withheld from you and given to others. Or, if you’re any other version of a lost boy, the Father is seeking you.
And for that reason, welcome to camp, and welcome to my blog.