September is often a month for returning. Students and school and college staff go back or start school or university, people go back to work after a summer break and the church tends to step up a gear after a quieter month. Things will have been very different for us this year and some people will notice very little difference as August slips into September and as Summer starts to turn to Autumn. Things will no doubt continue to be bumpy for some time to come, but I wonder what returning looks like for you in this season?
Last night my husband and I watched a vlog of someone who we enjoy watching their videos and they were talking about their personal struggles over the last few months with mental health, with big plans being cancelled, with their work changing continuously. One of the biggest things seemed to be the lack of being able to see and hold family and for many of us that will have been a big loss. Everyone I speak to at present longs to return to some kind of normality, but we don’t quite know what that will look like anymore. For me returning in August means a trip to see my Mum and then some time on retreat – something that had been cancelled earlier in the year so as I write this, I am looking forward to returning to these places.
As I was thinking about returning and how September would normally look, the story of the prodigal son came into my mind. It is a story that Jesus told to teach people and it can be found in the Bible in Luke 15. The prodigal son wants everything of the best in the here and now and asks his Father to give him his share of the inheritance and he goes off and lives a high life only to lose it all. After he has done some hard labour, her realises that he could return to his Father and offer to be a servant for him as they were living in a much better way than he was. The Bible says this:
So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and put his arms around him and kissed him.
I love the picture of this scene and many artists have tried to capture this. The story goes on that the Father welcomed his son home and gave a great party as what had been lost was now found.
This is a picture for us as well today. We might feel that something is missing in our lives, we might have turned to prayer during these days of coronavirus hoping that there is something bigger than us out there – and there is – a God who loves and cares about each one of us, and longs for us to return to Him and he is always there with arms open wide.
If you have been thinking more about why are we here and what is going on, then we will be running an online Alpha course shortly so look out for more information on this and join us to explore different questions through videos and discussion.
I hope that as we move into a new month, you will know the open arms of a God who is always waiting for you and for me to share our lives with him.
With every blessing
Rev Sarah – firstname.lastname@example.org 01733 248690/07498 230858