Unity Church of Ames

The Prodigal Son

Mid Week Faith Lift

June 18, 2014

The Prodigal Son

Su Podraza-Nagle,

Licensed Unity Teacher Candidate

This morning’s lesson is the Prodigal Son, so I am going to first read the story to you….because you all know it for sure, right? Thought so?!  There are 2-3 phases to it and there are so many lessons in this story   ….so here it is. 


The Parable of the Lost Son  Luke 15:11-32

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (NIV)


When I was younger and this was done in Sunday school, I was on the elder brother’s side because in my family if you disobeyed, you didn’t get anything.  You were grounded from playing with your friends, going out and you didn’t get your allowance.  As I grew older and I started revisiting this story I could see how we all learn from different ways of living.  If you think back in your family, whether biological or family of the heart, you always have that one individual that is just a little bit twisted off center!  And they always did what you wished in your heart you could do!  And when they actually did it, and they made it, that little part, in the back of my brain, that little ego would say, “Ack, they made it…and here I sit!”

So that story started taking on a new meaning and I got the message of the Prodigal son, because we always have abundance, but not everybody’s path is the same.  Can you imagine what it would be like if we were all walking the same path?  There wouldn’t be any grass because we’d all be trodding the same path and we wouldn’t have stories to tell and share.  Imagine the stories this young man has to tell about eating with the pigs and what that was like.  Or how he became so poor and destitute.

Those are the kind of stories I know everyone likes to share around the holiday table…the quirky stories.  We all have different paths to our Divine Source and it is ok.  I am glad I had the opportunity to revisit this story of the Prodigal Son on more than one occasion because I could see my evolution.  I have stepped off the beaten path more than one time and I was always welcomed back to myself.  When I got lost there for a while, I was able to come back.

Now on the physical side of it, we have the human side and the spiritual side…it might get a little deep here.  We have our spiritual side and that human side that wants to go off and have troubles…so they’re gonna do that!  And there is the older, more mature son who stands by his father’s side.  And when both sides come back together, there’s a bit of friction, a perception of lack. The elder son says, “I’ve always been here and I’ve never got anything!” And that Divine Source, that Divine Love, answers back. “You have always had it. What is mine is yours, all you need do is ask!”  The eldest son did not ask for a goat, he just thought his dad would give it to him.  We as human beings have a tendency to forget to ask.  We sit in meditation or we sit in prayer and we forget to ask.

That very human side that says “I just want to go off the beaten path and experience life!” There is that energy inside each of us that just wants to sneak out a little bit and be human and see what happens! And that spiritual energy of us says “Hmmmm..  Ok, do it!”  We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.  Our Father, our Divine Love, our Divine Source is always there, always ready to give….always!  We get lost and we come back to ourselves and realize, “That wasn’t such a good idea.”  But we come back to our Divine Source. 

God is never angry at us!  We might hear it in the back of our head, “That was an interesting move, wasn’t it? I LOVE YOU!”  I used to hear it all the time.  This is what I used to hear all the time,  “I’ll be here when you are done playing around.  Go ahead, turn our back and I’ll be here when you are done playing around.”  It took me many years to stop turning my back and walking the way I thought I was going to go.  Now here I stand today.  It truly was a wonderful story of a human side and a spiritual side coming together, not always happily because we are human beings and we do sometimes need that little bit of friction to get us moving.  And when you have friction, you have heat and it kind of lights a fire under you a bit. 

The most important thing to understand is that yes, we can go out there and experience our human selves, but we can always come home.  Our Father is always waiting for us.  Our Divine Source is always within us.  We just forget.  We are surrounded by that energy always…but we have that will to explore and that is a gift.  All we need to remember is that we can always walk back home and we will be welcomed with open arms!



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