Sadness and grieving

This morning there was an undercurrent of sadness in my prayer.

There are things happening here that fill me with sadness — the sadness of lost opportunities, the sadness of conflicts, and more.

And so when I read today’s Gospel of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32), I wondered whether the father too was grieving.

His youngest son leaves, with a gesture that feels like abandonment. He gets his inheritance and goes away, not giving any sign of returning.

But the father keeps watch – and finally catching sight of him from afar.

But when the father prepares a celebration of the return of the younger son, the older son stays outside, resentful. The older son also seems to abandon his father.

I wonder whether this father grieved at the loss of his sons and longed for their return.

Does God grieve for us – for our separation from him, in whatever way or for whatever reason?

Does God grieve for our world where there is so much abandonment of the poor?

Does God grieve for a church that misses opportunities to give people hope?

I think that God does grieve – but he also goes out to invite all of us into the banquet, into the joy of return, or recovering of the lost.

Grieving today, sad, I need to remember that God grieves with me – and that he promises joy.

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