It’s commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Found in the book of Matthew in the New Testament, the Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father in Heaven.”

The Bible uses numerous descriptions and metaphors to illustrate the relationship between humans and the God who created them. People are more than just “creatures,” a word that would describe the animals the Creator put on the planet.  Human beings are God’s children.

Human parents hope their children will be obedient to their wishes. The parent knows what is best for the child, especially during the younger, formative years of the child’s life. Disobedience may have tragic consequences. A child who disobeys an order to stay away from the street could be struck by a car and be injured or killed. The book of Ephesians in the Bible makes a connection between obeying parents and living a long life. A parent might tell his child to avoid consumption of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, because the parent has experience or knowledge about the physical and emotional consequences of addiction to these chemical substances.

The Bible is full of directives from our Father in Heaven about the way we should live our lives. Just as children sometimes rebel against the teachings of their parents, grown people sometimes rebel against the teachings of God. Rebellion breaks the hearts of the parents, and God likewise is saddened when his children rebel.

In the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, are a number of paintings with religious themes by the Dutch master artist Rembrandt. One painting is the return of the Lost Son. During the years of communist rule, the Russian people were largely unaware of the stories behind the great masterpieces that were pictured in school textbooks. Russians now have the opportunity to learn.

The parable of the Lost Son is found in Luke 15. It’s the story of an grown child who becomes dissatisfied with his responsibilities on the family farm. He thinks life will be better if he has freedom with no responsibility. So he asks his father for his share of the family estate, which his father grants. He abuses his father’s generosity by engaging in wild living. When the money is squandered away, so is the dream of a better life.

Contemporary Christian band The Newsboys has a song based on the story of the Lost Son. It’s titled “Reality.” And it’s about a boy who runs away from home to join the circus. The song makes a reference to a picture on the back of a milk carton. In the United States, milk cartons sometimes have had pictures of missing children.

Mom & Dad,

I'm fine. How are you? I have joined a
small circus (that much is true). I'm a
little malnourished, but try to relax.
Could you find a better photo for the milk
carton backs?

Send money.

Runaway
where's your head?
dreamers' dreams
are grounded

in reality
that comes from above
God is calling
there's no bigger love
It's his reality that welcomes us back
Trust and obey
there is no other way

Mom & Dad,

I'm fair. How's life? Lent the money you
sent me to the clown with the knife. My
career as an acrobat hasn't begun, but
I'm busy giving blood and shoveling
elephant dung.

Send money.

Runaway
Why so tense?
dreamers' dreams
will make sense

in reality
that comes from above
God is calling
there's no bigger love
It's his reality that welcomes us back
Trust and obey
there is no other way

The Lost Son’s symbolizes God, who is our Father in Heaven. The Bible says the son got so hungry that he was willing to eat pig slop. He finally came to his senses and returned home, where his father welcomed him with open arms. Our Heavenly Father is just as merciful. But some have to first learn the hard way about life without God.

Runaway
blowing smoke
your folks are worried
(and going broke)

after the fall
is an all-new episode
reality
is the high road

in reality
that comes from above
God is calling
there's no bigger love
It's his reality that welcomes us back
Trust and obey
there is no other way

I’m Rob Scobey. Write to me at KNLS, Anchor Point, Alaska, USA.

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