“But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him… Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’ (Luke 15:17-20, 28-32) The Gospel in miniature stands before us today. Of all of Jesus’ stories, for me, the parable of the “prodigal” shines the brightest. Where to begin with this banquet of riches? One detail worth pursuing is the way in which both the sons misidentify themselves. The younger in his degradation cooks up the idea to return home as a “hired hand.” The elder in his lack of love complains that he has always “worked like a slave” for his father. But the Father will not have it. He’s not hiring! Instead, he is longing for and actively going to both boys in their confusion. He is insisting on who they really are and reminding them that they are not slaves but his sons, his children. Have you ever forgotten who you really are? Have you ever lived like a slave rather than the son or daughter of God that you really are? Have you tried to earn what has been given you out of the pure grace of your heavenly Father? We all need reminding sometimes, don’t we? During this season of Lent, my prayer is that we will all be reminded of our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, who went into the far country to find you and me, restoring us to our loving Father. Which of God’s children do you know who needs to hear this glorious story for the first or the hundredth time?