Saturday, March 9, 2013


Hello Friends.
Warning I might be a little wordy.  But to maybe keep your interest I will throw in a few photos of a recent romp at the scary baseball field, which I am not scared of anymore.

Losing track of a child, furry or otherwise, is every parent’s worst nightmare.  It only takes a moment to go from peaceful to panic when you suddenly realize that somehow, someone has gone astray.  And it's a worry that never stops.  It doesn't matter how old they get — parents still want to know where their “kids” are and how they are doing.  “Out of sight” definitely does not mean, for most fathers or mothers, “out of mind.”

But good parents also know there is a time and place when letting go is necessary.  To grow and develop their own sense of responsibility, to take their own actions seriously, and to learn to live with the consequences of those actions, children have to let go of the “family lifeboat” and dare to test the untamed waters of the world.

I think most know the story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible whether you are "religious" or not.  Short Goose version:  "Father has 2 sons.  The young one says, "give me my inheritance and I am out of here."  Other son stays behind and works for the father.  Young son lives recklessly and does things he does not want to just to survive (like feeding pigs but he is not allowed to even eat what the pigs do).  Young son heads home and his father welcomes him with open arms and throws a party in his honor."

In Jesus' time for the young son to do such a thing was unthinkable.  There were strict cultural and judicial laws mandating the behavior of children.  Even “adult” children had to abide by the traditions of both a Torah-devoted and an agrarian-based life.  In that patriarchal world the father was in charge — until his death.  Sons stayed to work the land with their own families, daughters became part of their husband’s family world.

The “prodigal son’s” petition for an “early inheritance” wasn't like a kid begging for a car before going off to college.  That youngest son’s request was an offensive, slap-in-the-face, “I-wish-you-were-dead” disregard of all that was accepted, respected and expected.  He was supposed to honor his father through his life and work.

That his father OK'd such a self-centered act is the first remarkably gracious action taken by this parent.  The father gives his child the gift of freedom, even if it is freedom from the father.  It's now the child’s responsibility to live a righteous life within that freedom.

One of the reasons I think people like the parable of the prodigal son so much is they like the contriteness of the contrary youngster.  He “came to himself.”  He realized the miserable life he was living was worse than anything that the servants and day-laborers who worked for his father were experiencing.  But from the “been there/done that” vantage point of the twenty-first century, it's hard to see just how grievous this young man’s actions had been, how much grief and shame he had caused his family.

And still his father forgave him.  That’s the scandal of this story: the scandal of a father’s love; the scandal of a father’s forgiveness.

Scandal is nothing new.  Scandal is as old as Adam and Eve and familiar as the next-door-neighbor’s indiscretions, or the hottest new 2013 show “Scandal”.  Shame and Scandal rule the airwaves.

Well, Salvation and Scandal rule the church.  Or it should.  The message of Lent is that we have a Scandalous God.  The scandal of love, the scandal of forgiveness, is beyond our tolerance and bring out our resentment.  But God continues to scandalize us at every turn.

Do you remember the fatal shooting of 10 Amish children outside of Lancaster County?  A milk truck driver with three children and a wife drove his truck up to the one-room schoolhouse, exited the boys, barricaded the doors so none of the girls could escape, and proceeded to shoot the girls before shooting himself.

As if the scandal of the violence wasn't enough, the most talked about scandal, however, was the reaction of the Old Order Amish community to the shooter’s wife and three children.  Within hours, the Amish community publicly forgave the killer and expressed loving concern for his widow and three children.  After burying their own children, they attended the burial of the 32 year old non-Amish killer.  There were 75 in attendance.  Half were Amish.  The killer’s wife and her three children were greeted with hugs . . . and with an Amish-started fund for the killer’s family.  “Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need,” the killer’s widow, Marie Roberts, wrote the Amish later.  “Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world.”

That is what scandalized people the most.   “Hatred is not always wrong, and forgiveness is not always deserved,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby.  "How dare these Amish forgive the killer of their children, and reach out to his family."

Forgiveness doesn't mean you’re Pollyannaish about the world, or plaster over the cracks in people and history.  Forgiveness looks square in the face of wrong, and chooses healing and reconciliation rather than hatred and revenge.  It may be the hardest thing in the world to do, to offer true forgiveness.  Scandalously hard.

But yet, from inside the barbed wire of the death camps there were some scandalous acts of forgiveness and love.  Here is a prayer found at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp beside a dead boy on the day of liberation:

"O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but all those of ill will.  But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us.  Remember the fruits we have bought thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of all this.  And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness."

That’s scandalous.  True scandal.  From a scandalous God.  Have you been caught up in the scandal?


  1. What a powerful post! Our Mommy loved it and we enjoyed the pics with her. Thank you for stopping by our blog and leaving sweet words of comfort, too. XOXO

  2. Goose...I love how you teach. Thank you.

  3. There have been so many sad stories on the radio mom listens to lately; I know she feels very angry about so much sadness for no reason. But I will remind her about what you have written here the next time she starts to feel so much anger. Thank you, Goose.

  4. A very sad story indeed. I believe that was very, very forgiving of the Amish people. It was hard to understand how they were able to forgive and help the killer's family.

  5. i grew up in the church, my dad was a Baptist Minister. I was born a rebel, so the story of the prodigal son was one of my most least favorites because I had trouble understanding why the dad would let him come back home. i know what it means, it is to let us know that we can come back to God no matter what we do... your post explains it well and I understand what you are saying, but i still have trouble with these verses.

  6. Woof! Woof! Scandal is such a scandalous word. LOVE to be in your masses. This is a wonderful homily. Golden Thanks for sharing. Happy Sunday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  7. You make us stop for a moment and think. To forgive is to be truly blessed because then you are free. We strive for such perfection. Thank you on a Sunday for simply making us stop and think. Have a super Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. Thanks, Goose, always look forward to your Sunday morning Gospel Lesson, it's starts our scandallous week off with a happy day!

    Your Pals
    Susie & Bites

  9. Wow, powerful words - superb post.

    The OP Pack's mom

  10. Thank you for a wonderful post today. Gives us a lot to think about and change, if change is necessary.

  11. Goose what a thought provoking post...your mom is so good a turning Biblical stories into every day life...we love that.
    Lots of hugs Madi your BFFF

  12. We should read your post always if we are angry or if we feel bad. Thanks for your wonderful post today.

  13. That was such a great post. It sure gave us something to think about and we all need to think about these things so it was such a good reminder. Thanks a bunch. Take care.

  14. A very good lesson Goose. Actually, many lessons in there! You are so smart.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley
    Online Doods

  15. What a beautiful post! Really makes one think. Thank you, Goose, for this.

  16. Thank you for sharing the story Goose, it sure gets you thinkin
    Benny & Lily

  17. Thanks Goose!!
    Just what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it!
    Nellie's Mom

  18. Wow I didn't know all of love all the play date pics

  19. Excellent, Goose. It would be wonderful if forgiveness was in everyone's vocabulary.

  20. Hi Goose!
    That was a really good story (I read it all), and I like your pictures too!
    It's great you're having fun again at the baseball place! I notice that all of your snow is gone! I know where it's gone...
    Pippa :) wuf wuf
    Have a woofy week!

  21. If more people could forgive, the world would be a better place. Lee and Phod

  22. This is beautiful Goose and you're right...true forgiveness is the very hardest thing of all & something I have struggled with in my life

  23. Great pictures and great story. Forgiveness is the most beautiful thing.

    urban hounds

  24. We've never heard the Parable explained that way before, Goose, and it really helped! Thank you - and that was just beautiful! (So are the photos!!!)
    Play bows,

  25. Oh boy, mom needed that today. Thank you!

  26. Thank you for this beautiful and thought provoking post!

    Anne and Sasha


  27. Goose, Mommy has had this on her refrigerator for a very long time. Your Moms post made her think about it, the not letting go of kids part. She hopes you and your Mommy like this.

    Loveys Sasha

    Flight Clearance
    Vicki Huffman
    Wait! Don't go.
    You've been here such a little while.
    So much we haven't done
    I haven't said.
    Don't go, my child.
    I watched you.
    Damp curls, clutching Teddy's foot.
    In slumber you lay---angelic.
    I wept---prophetic.
    Of future cares, my child.
    I turned around
    You filled the bed arms flung wide
    Wings awaiting takeoff.
    Please don't ask
    For flight clearance, my child.
    How short a time since
    I bore you in womb, in arms, in heart.
    My labor pains return
    Each time you plunge
    Head-first into the world, my child.
    You've come to go
    From my lap, my knees, my side
    But never from my love.
    Like Abraham with Isaac
    I give you up---I receive you again.
    Forever my child.

  28. Oh, I loved that one Goose!! Very good post! (as always!)

  29. A good message, and I have to admit that I've done a lot of reading on this very topic and this very parable is one that I've read many times. I have been really, really hurt by the actions and words from members of my family and have really had to search my soul and heart to find forgiveness for what they did. But through it I've learned that forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, and it doesn't mean that what they did was okay. It just means that I've let go of the anger and hurt towards them and have found that they have no place in my life, and I'm okay with that. As I said, it wasn't easy, but it has been worth it because I've found peace.

  30. I think that learning to truly forgive someone who has hurt a person so very badly is a gift - and it's one that's hard to attain (your Amish example is incredible). I've learned to forgive many things - almost everything - but I have one secret, a deep secret of an act that I've never been able to forgive. More than 20 years ago, my first dog was murdered with a gun by a drunken felon who then held me at gunpoint. People who heard the shots called the police, which probably saved my life. That is one act that I've never been able to forgive. I hate to admit that, but it's true.

    You've made me think about that again... and whether I can find a way to cleanse the hatred for the murderer from my soul. I'm going to try.

    Thank you for a powerful post.

  31. If more people could forgive, like most have already said, the world would be a better place..Lovely post Goose and love all the photo's. xxooxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  32. An excellent post and perfect for this season of lent.

  33. I hadn't heard the story of the Amish shooting. How horribly sad. And how beautiful that those families forgave and supported the widow and her children. Thank you for sharing that story. That is how the Church should respond. The fact that we often don't is obvious in how others respond to us as a whole. :(

    The Holocaust is horrific. The stories of forgiveness and redemption which come from is are amazing. I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom. She puts everything out there. Her honesty is beautiful.