A Son in the Father's House
You are called to live as a son in your Father’s house.
These are the words spoken to me by a spiritual director at a time in my life when I questioned who
I was and where I belonged. The statement sounds very spiritual, very personal and may evoke a
quick AMEN from the religious community but I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. Living as a son in
the Father’s house is going to conjure up feelings of our own childhood experiences of father and
home and for all of us these experiences were tainted with evidence of fallen humanity and the
brokenness of man. So what exactly does it mean to live as a son (or daughter) in the Father’s house?
For many years I had lived as an imposter in the Father’s house. Outwardly striving to belong but
inwardly serving self, the double life of sexual addiction and religious performance promoted
isolation instead of relationship, performance instead of intimacy and deceit instead of truth. Like the
prodigal, I loved the Father but I loved myself more and wanted my part NOW. In this place there was
no real home so there was no real rest. The church is filled with imposters, living one way all week
and then visiting God on Sundays.
Exhausted and disillusioned, I attempted to end my life believing there was no place for me in the
Father’s house. Still, He called me to come home. Humbled, forgiven and grateful I returned to the
Father’s house with the mindset of the prodigal, make me one of your hired servants. Feeling unworthy because of my failures but grateful for God’s grace and forgiveness, I set out to serve the Father who had given me a second chance. Years of spending and being spent for others brought great joy but also exhaustion. The servant never feels at home in the Father’s house for there is always another thing to be done, another expectation to fulfill. The church is filled with servants, doing penance for their past and serving dutifully.
Now I was being invited to live as a son in the Father’s house. The Father did not want the prodigal to return as a servant but as a son. Complete forgiveness for the past, no mention of the wandering, no penance for mistakes made, full acceptance as a son, the embrace of the Father, intimate relationship with the Father, a place of honor and dignity in the Father’s house and an inheritance are all ours as sons (or daughters). The Father never motivates His sons and daughters by guilt but always by love. The Father never puts service above relationships. The Father never puts conditions on His children. This is truly a relationship of grace.
I am learning to live as a son in my Father’s house. For me this means learning to rest in His love, learning to serve out of love, learning to see and relate to others as He does, learning to value His embrace over all others, learning to represent, reflect and reveal Him to others and learning to cast off all shame and hold my head high in the dignity and nobility of my calling. Still limited in my experience by the desires of my flesh, I am growing in my ability to live in the tension between my home in the Father’s house and this world that is NOT my home.
You are called to live as a son (or daughter) in your Father’s house.