St Helen's Church
St Michael's Church
Did you ever run away from home?
I did. I was in my early teens. I can’t remember what the problem was now to be honest, but I do remember feeling extremely cross, frustrated, and setting off on a very long walk one evening after school. I didn’t tell my mum and dad that I was running away from home at the time, I think because I didn’t really want to make them worried! Anyway, I walked and I walked, through Hapton, through Huncoat, Accrington and Baxenden, until I got as far as the Hollands pies factory, I stopped and decided that I had gone far enough and decided to go back...Mum and dad were, of course, loving and welcoming, perhaps more so than I deserved.
It seems very funny now thinking about it, but I have been thinking about it during Lent, because for some of us that sort of experience is real in the sense that we can turn our back on our heavenly Father, sometimes without even realising it, until life goes horribly wrong.
The prayer that is said after communion during Lent is a special one, it is the one that begins “Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far-off you met us in your Son and brought us home“
It’s all about running away and being given a way back. The word used in the bible for turning back is repentance, and what the son who ran away from home finds is that while he has been quietly ruining his life, blowing his inheritance and generally leading a chaotic existence, he has not been forgotten at home. He finds that all he needs to do is just begin walking back and he finds his father actually rushing back towards him, to meet him, to help bring him home. Also, and this is a really important part for any of us who have ever had to backtrack on anything, his father gives him a way back with honour. In the parable he places a robe upon his shoulders and a ring on his finger, and cooks the fatted calf, they have a feast in other words. His brother doesn’t like it and resents it, but there again; his brother doesn’t understand and perhaps never will.
When we really mess up badly He cannot wait to welcome us home, all we need to do is take one step towards our Father and he will run the rest of the distance to meet us and bring us back, not just restoring us but giving us a place Of honour for the brave decision that has been taken. This is just part of the good news of Christianity,
Happy Easter everyone. Rev Andrew