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The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC minister Jeferson V. Barbosa. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.


Dear brothers, today I want to talk to you about a parable that Jesus told about a father and two sons that is in the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32. The eldest son was responsible and hardworking, while the youngest son was lazy and irresponsible. One day, the youngest son asked his father for his share of the inheritance and left for a long way, where he wasted everything he had in a life of debauchery. When he was left with nothing, he decided to return home and ask his father for forgiveness. The father was very happy to see him and ran to hug him. He ordered the servants to slaughter the fattened calf for a feast in his honor.

The eldest son was furious when he heard about the feast. He didn't want to go into the house or talk to his father. The father went to him and tried to convince him to enter, but he refused. He told his father that he had worked hard all those years and had never received a feast in his honor. He said that the youngest son had squandered everything he had and was now being rewarded.

The father replied to the eldest son saying, "My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and came alive; he was lost and was found."

This parable is a reminder that God is a God of love and forgiveness. He's always willing to welcome us back, no matter what we've done. It is also a reminder that we are to be merciful to one another, just as God is merciful to us.

These days, there are many people who are experiencing difficulties. There are people who are starving, people who are fleeing wars, people who are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and people who are being harmed by the unequal distribution of income.

As Christians, we should be concerned about these people. We must strive to help them overcome their difficulties. We must stand up against injustice and discrimination. We must work to create a world where everyone is treated with equality and dignity.

Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He taught us that we should give to the poor and help those in need. He taught us that we should be merciful, just as God is merciful. If we follow the teachings of Jesus, we can make a difference in the world. We can help create a fairer and more peaceful world. We can help build a world where everyone is treated with love and respect.

21 comments

  1. Carol M. Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Carol M. Anaski-Figurski

    Thats always a great message the prodigal son & so true it is. Jesus loves us no matter what. He knows our sins & love us just the same. Jesus is always willing to welcome us with open arms. Grace & Forgiveness are God's virtues You can always go home, You can always go to Jesus even if its been a while since you prayed.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      That’s what you got out of this, that Jesus wants to welcome you?

      Thought provoking story. Typical ‘Come to Jesus’ interpretation.

      1. Melissae Lila-Jean Bletsian's Avatar Melissae Lila-Jean Bletsian

        Why are you here? If not for spiritual edification and communion, then why be here? Is it your practice to troll with sarcasm rather than share something insightful? Is it spiritually nourishing to "dunk" on people and judge them while adding absolutely no value to the conversation?

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    God is the same as nature -- and nature doesn't love, and/or want to punish anyone; nor does nature (aka, God) consign anyone to an eternal, fiery, tortuous Hell.

    Nature's God (as per the USA Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson) who wrote his own bible, which is purchasable from the ULC).

    To try to equate the Christian God with love -- while wars rage all over the place; people die, horribly, from the Christian Gods created cancer, -- is Orwellian in nature, and defies all types of logic.

    Perhaps the biggest lie told by anyone, is that the Christian God ='s love.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Amen 🙏

  1. Billy Heckstall's Avatar Billy Heckstall

    What always come to light for me, is that one must in someway be willing to summit or return home to be embraced by the father’s love and grace. Which tell us that we too must play a part in our recovery from the darkness. We must give our will, or our faith in the powers that evolved in and around us. Bring in sync with our universal understanding and essence is the key to love and it seems to always echo throughout time in one word for sure humility! Even if it comes through the beating life administered. The outcome always seem to lead to that door step, from Adam, to Job, and Jesus it cried submission, acceptance of one’s place and knowing all that comes and exists is of the God! For me? That journey began at birth and as of now. It still continues! (Smile) Amen…

  1. Kym Hartmann's Avatar Kym Hartmann

    I guess that we are all prodigal sons and daughters in a way, seperated from Father God who is Holy by sin,the things we do wrong by our own wrong choices but God loves us so much that He gave His only Begotten Son Jesus to pay for our sin by His blood,so that who ever believes in Him will never perish but will have eternal life and end this seperation from the Father. Two of the greatest lies of the devil is that he, the devil doesn't exist and that the bible is not true. Think about it and know that God loves all people even you my brother and sister all people. Kym

    1. Norbert Roy Laengrich's Avatar Norbert Roy Laengrich

      Amen !

  1. William Peatman's Avatar William Peatman

    I think we miss the point of this story. It's about the older brother. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, the religous elite of the time, who beleived they earned God's favor through their moral rectitude and righteous behavior, and resented Jesus for welcoming "tax collectors and sinners" as equal children of God who they viciously judged as unworthy and unbelonging. The older brother had access to the lavish love of his father all along, but he viewed the relationship as a transactional one, working for a boss rather than embracing a loving relationship. Both brothers rejected the unconditional love and acceptance of their father. Only one came to his senses.

  1. Iris Shani Granville's Avatar Iris Shani Granville

    Douglas the devil is a liar and he is lying to you, God doesn’t hurt people, people hurt people because they are being used by the devil, God is love ❤️ all you have to do is pray 🙏 and read your Bible so you can understand God and I pray that God opens your eyes of understanding of who He really is, peace unto you.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Absolute rubbish, Lady Iris. Clearly you haven’t read the bible and the appalling inhumane genocide and infanticide of the god you think is love. Fortunately, there's no demonstrable evidence any of the stories, or even your god, is real. You are not on your own though. Other religions of the world also believe in their mythical god. All of them are using their faith, but I bet you think your faith of your god is the right one, and that’s ok, you’re not on your own, they all think like you do, but that’s okay if that’s what you need.

      🦁❤️

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Horrible sermon as God destroy Maui forcing people to jump in the the ocean to prevent God from burning them alive. God killed nearly 50, destroyed homes, destroyed businesses and left people with just the clothing they were wearing. Why would a loving God do that to nice kind people?

    1. Joyce M. Miller's Avatar Joyce M. Miller

      If you truly believe in God you must also acknowledge the evil of the Serpent. It stands to reason that evil in the world is taking a strong hold and we must overcome it with our Faith and help in anyway possible. These innocent people were destroyed by the greed, ignorance and neglect of selfish humans. Please know the Lord took them to him.🙏

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @ Joyce M. Miller You are wrong, Maui doesn’t have any Serpents the masses destruction and horrible loss of life was God’s doing. Why would God kill innocent people and ruin so many innocent lives while rewarding those who are greedy and selfish? You seem to have it backwards.

      2. Richard DellaValle's Avatar Richard DellaValle

        According to the Biblical Archaeology Society and the Hebrew Bible, not the altered Christian version of the Old Testament, “satan” is not a being but a metaphor for the “evil inclination” (the yetzer hara) that exists in humans that creates evil thoughts in our heads. I refer to it as the voice that talks to you in your head. The Hebrew word “satan” (שָּׂטָן) translates to “adversary” and comes from a Hebrew verb meaning “to oppose” or “obstruct.” God’s adversaries are not fallen angels or other gods but human beings who have no fear of God. (Heavenly beings know better!) It’s not a devil that spreads evil across the face of creation. It is the evil inclination God instilled (for reasons impossible to determine) in humanity. Search as hard as you wish; you will not find one bad word in the OT about Satan. Satan never created evil, lied, or disobeyed God’s commands, even to this day! He is a servant of his God.

        According to Psalm 82:1, Ha’Satan is an obedient servant of God who serves as the prosecuting attorney in God’s court, the Divine Council. Only God creates light, peace, and corruption (Isa 45:7). God has no archrival, nor are there malevolent spiritual forces not under his authority. God is behind the good and the bad, blessings and curses. To believe God has a physical archenemy is blasphemy and wrong! Unbelievably, God is dubbed Satan. Compare parallel passages:

        1 Chron 21:1 - And there standeth up an adversary against Israel, and persuadeth David to number Israel (Young’s Literal Translation). Look it up! An honest translation. https://www.biblestudytools.com/ylt/

        2 Sam 24:1 - And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

        So, how and when did the mistranslated word “satan” become that mean old Devil we know in Christendom? It turns out that Satan and his band of angels are pure concoctions made “out of whole cloth” by the corrupt early Christian church. I was raised to believe God kicked Satan out of Heaven sometime before Adam’s fall. However, no mention of such an event is recorded in the Old Testament, as it should be if it were the truth. So I naturally wondered how Satan, rather Ha’satan, could appear and speak to God in the Book of Job if he had been ejected from Heaven. Can anyone explain that?

    2. Taleen Arpi Berberian's Avatar Taleen Arpi Berberian

      This is not God doing this. This is the antithesis of God. The reason this is happening is greed and vengeance towards the good, God, and Love. This is a " silent weapon for quiet wars'. My two cents.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    @ Taleen Arpi Berberian The reason God allowing good honest people to be burned to death is greed and vengeance toward good? That makes no sense.

  1. Darrell Edwin Swanson's Avatar Darrell Edwin Swanson

    Taleen, you should not be so bitter. I spent 7 years lost in the jungle of life only to end up on the steps of total despair. I then ask God to take my life and do as he thought best. The next day I was turned around. It has not been bliss by any means. I have a task to do, I just do not yet know what it is. But I still feel that touch on the shoulder now and then to let me know I am still his. Search your heart, let the words come from the heart.

  1. Jetzabel's Avatar Jetzabel

    To those of you who deny the existence of God, I challenge you to go out into your community, give to those in need, engage in random acts of kindness, actively think about your impact in the lives of those around you, make amends, lead with love. It has to be intentional. It has to come from your heart. For no reason other than your desire to show love and generosity to those who need it the most. Those who don't believe, haven't heard God speaking directly to them yet. Be patient, clear your mind, and open your heart. Pay attention. When you're ready and willing to listen, he will make Himself known to you. I turned away from God once for a very long time. I didnt believe for even longer. But when he spoke, I realized he'd been talking for a while, leading up to the moment I was ready to hear His message for me..

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      As a secular humanist I do good deeds all the time, every day, and I don’t need mythical gods telling me to be the way I am, threatening me, or blackmailing me with Hell if I don’t comply. I help those that are suffering from Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS). It’s real, and it exists. You’d be surprised how many people suffer from it. Religious indoctrination can be so cruel, and that includes Christianity.

      🦁❤️

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Did I just read that the Christian god was merciful? Has everyone forgotten his genocidal flooding that killed most everyone on earth, women, children, babies? Or even his infanticide of killing the first born, or his condoning slavery, and stoning people to death. But hey, let’s say he’s merciful. Fortunately, there’s no evidence to support these tales and fictional stories. If these stories were true he’d be classed as the most horrific deity in existence, but hey….he’s the god of love…..and forgiveness 🤭

    🦁❤️

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