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The Story of the Lost SonThen he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'
"So the father divided the property between them. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
"That brought him to his senses. He said, 'All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.' He got right up and went home to his father.
"When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.'
"But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants, 'Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!' And they began to have a wonderful time.
"All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, 'Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.'
"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!'
"His father said, 'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"
Luke 15:11-32 from The Message Bible
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I've never been terribly fond of this story. I never understood why the brother who stayed wasn't celebrated while the brother who left got a party. It seemed so unfair. The light of the Mothers Moon this summer
has allowed me to see the story, the Father's actions, in a different way. In the way of motherlove.
The Mothers Moon reminds us that we are all worthy of love not based on what we do or believe or say, but based simply on the fact that we exist. We are the Mother's beloved child and she will love us no matter what we do or don't do. The Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son loves the boy who left and came back just as much as he loves the son who stayed. Both are beloved sons, both are deserving of barbecues and dancing. Neither deserve punishment or chastisement.
I think in the past I have always identified with the son who stayed. Of course I was the child who who played by the rules, didn't strike off on my own, didn't do dumb or silly things. Worked hard, played it safe. No one would ever have to throw a party for me when I returned, because I would never leave. This spring, however, I have done some "leaving". I like to think that I have been splashing around in the shallows of hedonism for a couple months. I have felt far from some aspects of my spirituality,
especially my contemplative practices, but I have never felt far from the spirit of god. I have felt a bit like the kids I took to the beach last week; they ran and screamed and poked dead things and climbed on things while I watched from the sidelines. They might have gotten hurt, but that is part of growing up. I might have gotten hurt or distracted as I splashed around in all this emotional and physical muck, but the Goddess is near by to comfort me when I scrape my knee or bang my head. She loves me no matter what I do, or don't do.
The epiphany that came right around the full moon of the Mother's Moon rang so true with pronoic motherlove energy: Nothing but good can come of this. She loves me no matter how prodigal I am.
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Mother's Moon 2010: You Are the Mother's Beloved Child and Motherlove and Caring for the Environment
Mother's Moon 2009: Gifts from the Mother