• What does it mean to you to say that you believe (put your trust in!) God the Father?
o Is the image of God as father helpful to you?
o Could the image have a meaning beyond comparing God to our earthly fathers?
• What does it mean to you to say that you believe in God Almighty?
o Is it a comforting thought or a scary thought?
• The Bible contains many images for God: rock, stronghold, shepherd, mother, husband just to start. Why do you believe the image of Father was so important to Jesus and to the writers of the New Testament?
Our scripture this week is a very familiar story. Usually we read it from the perspective of the younger or elder son. This week let’s read it to learn more about the Father.
Then Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, "How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands." ‘So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, "Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.• The word “prodigal” can also be defined as “spendthrift” or “extravagant.” Many people have pointed out that the person acting the most extravagant and reckless is the father. What does this parable teach us about God as Father?
• How is this father like our earthly fathers?
• How is this father unlike our earthly fathers?
• What can we learn about what it means to trust in God the Father Almighty from this scripture?