The Prodigal Us

Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime ShowBy now you may have heard about Katy Perry tweeting a Bible verse before her Super Bowl performance a couple of Sundays ago. Before anyone in Christendom starts to stake a claim on Perry, I’ll be the first to say that this probably doesn’t mean much more than, before a pretty big career moment, she happened to remember a Bible verse she learned as a child. That said, as a Christian, it does make me smile a little bit.

I like Katy Perry. She’s an amazing singer and performer. My daughter, Elena, saw her in concert a couple of years back and said it was one of the most phenomenal live shows she’d ever seen.

You’d be surprised at the number of musicians who grew up in spiritual homes of one sort or another. Many, usually because of some sort of difficult experience they attach to their spiritual upbringing, will at the very least put their beliefs on hold as they pursue their craft.

Given time, many will return to embrace the faith they paused. For some it’s a matter of seeking out other options and realizing that what they knew wasn’t so bad after all. Others will experience a crisis that drives them back to their roots. Still others just quietly decide that they really never gave up on their faith after all. They just needed to come to an understanding of it on their own.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one of the Prodigal Son. If you aren’t familiar with it, the gist of it is that the younger of two sons goes to his father for his inheritance. His father honors the request and watches as the boy goes off and squanders it on parties and self-indulgence. He ends up working for a pig farmer where he has to sleep and eat with the animals. The son finally realizes that this is no life and returns to the father to ask for a job. Then comes my favorite part of the story.

While the son is still some distance away, his father sees him approaching. The father gets so excited and directs his staff to put together a big part to celebrate the return of his son. What I love about this is that the father doesn’t really know why his son is coming back. For all he knows, the son is just coming back to ask for more money. But the father doesn’t care. He’s just excited to have his boy back.

The thing about it is that this is how God is with all of us. That’s what makes faith such a cool pursuit. All of us are prodigal sons in one way or another. And God just waits and watches for the day when we come back home so he can run up to us, embrace us, and throw us a big party. No questions. No judgment. Just a party.

I have no idea what’s going on in Katy Perry’s head and I’m not about to reach any sort of conclusion as to what might be happening in her spiritual life. But I know that, as a fan, I can encourage her, pray for her, enjoy her music, and trust that her Father will throw one heck of a party for her if she ever makes the decision to come home.

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