Good morning from London where although cold, it is sunny and bright!

This morning I was reflecting on God the father and the parable of the prodigal son!

The prodigal son squanders all his money abroad and returns to a father who loves him and welcomes him back!

In the parable the father represents God the father and the son represents us!

As I reflect on this with real life examples, including my own life, there is one major problem!

Unlike the prodigal son who left a loving father, a lot of us never had a loving father to start with and so the idea of ‘returning’ makes no sense!

From the moment of my conversion I could never relate to the love of God the father.

My own dad was a very hard-working man from the country. He was emotionally totally shut down and so we never had a relationship or even a friendship.

Things like ‘I love you’ or hug were unheard of and as for prayer, country men often see that as women’s business and my dad was no different!

At 18 I vowed like the prodigal son to leave the house and never return! Not to squander my money but to escape from hell!

My dad had a temper and his fuse was very short when it came to me!

He terrified me!

As I meet more and more people wounded from life I see that my story is one of many. Absent and abusive dads who were victims themselves of a lack of love from their dads!

However it does mean that many cannot relate to the parable of the prodigal son who upon returning home shouts

‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you’.

For many of us it’d be

‘Father, you have sinned against heaven and against me’!

Of course most fathers will never admit their mistakes! Even after 11 years my own dad has never spoken to me, never said sorry or never taken any interest in my life, in prayer or in the church!

And so what is the answer?!

In these cases we must forgive ourselves and turn to God the father who loves us.

At times like me we can only imagine what the father might be like! We can imagine Him being kind, sensitive, understanding, we can imagine Him giving us a hug, taking us out for lunch and listening to our wounds and yes, we can imagine Him saying those words ‘I love you’!

And so today I pray that people who have never experienced love will experience it for the first time and that they be freed from all self-hatred and rejection inflicted upon them by life!

May the loving embrace of God the Father touch all our hearts today and may even the hardest of hearts be moved to tears!

And may we be able to forgive our earthy fathers for falling so far short of this perfect love!

Bless your day

Michael