Thursday, November 03, 2005

David Zahl quote:

from "FOCUS update" newsletter, Fall 2005:

"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him." (Luke 15:28)

"One of the worst things my brothers and I could do when we were younger was to interrupt my parents when they had company. We were often stuck upstairs with the babysitter while they entertained downstairs. I remember once getting into a wrestling match with my older brother -- he was going through his "magician phase" and had been using my GI Joes as props -- and the commotion filtered down to the party below. My father had to come and check things out and, needless to say, he was not thrilled with us.

"Lately I have been using this story to illustrate the predictament of the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son(s). The elder brother throws such a fit about the feast being given for his wayward younger brother that his father has to leave the party: 'The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.'

"Much is made of the radical love the father shows to the disobedient younger son. And deservedly so, as it is an amazing display of grace. But I had never noticed that the initiating love of the father drives his relations with both sons. He meets the younger son in his depravity and shame, the older brother in his self-righteousness and anger. He does not wait for them to clean up or calm down. He goes to them.

"My fourth summer with FOCUS was long and exhausting, full of those what-on-earth-am-I-doing moments. But it was also full of instances of the Father's initiating love. But it was also ful of instances of the Father's initiating love. At June Week 1, I watched as He interrupted the (considerable) mischief of students from Avon Old Farms and Westminster and Taft. At Middle School Adventure and Crossroads. He did the same with boys from Loomis-Chaffee and Renbrook -- who knew the Father's love involved so much projectile shaving cream?! Seriously though, I can't express how exciting it was to watch these students, many of whom I have known for three years, encounter the reality of God's love for the first time.

"It wasn't just them. Believe it or not, we 'professional' Christians manage to get bogged down in petty disputes every once and a while. The good news is, even those of us with front-row seats are not exempt from the initiating love of the Father. And for that I could not be more grateful. That is, as long as no one touches my GI Joes."

-- Yes, I had a significant, dead-serious "magician phase". It was awesome! JAZ


Cate West said...

does it get more brilliant than that? i dont think so!!!

i (really) love that guy....

John Zahl said...

Moi aussi!

Anonymous said...

make it 3!