This week in worship, we’ll be starting a series called “Roots to Fruits” and it is about the six practices of fruitful congregations. Because you’ll get tired of hearing these later, they are: radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, extravagant generosity and bold evangelism. The first five are directly sourced from Robert Schnase’s marvelous book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, and the sixth… well, the sixth is a bit of a surprise, I assure you. But we’ll be ringing in 2015 with a look at this pivotal, amazing year.
And we’ll be using parables from the Gospel of Luke in worship. Parables are my bread and butter; I got into the parables of Jesus before I got into Christianity. And you can read the same parable as someone else and come up with two completely different ideas on it. Heck, you can read the same parable you did a year before and hear something new. They’re incredible stories that point to a higher concept that shifts and swoops and morphs but ultimately points to the heart of God.
Okay, with that said: this Sunday, we’ll be hearing the parable of the Prodigal Son. Wait! Don’t stop reading yet! Don’t make plans for Sunday brunch yet! The parable of the Prodigal Son is misnamed—it makes the least necessary character the eponymous figure of it. We should call it the Prodigal Parent; or, maybe even more, the Inhospitable Other-Son-of-Said-Parent-Because-He-Won’t-Call-What-We-Misname-the-Prodigal-Son-His-Brother. That one’s too long for headings in scripture, isn’t it? Shoot. I hope you’ll take a look at Luke 15 this week and join us on Sunday. Come take root, and come bear some fruit! I look forward to seeing you soon.