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by Dobrodiyka Cornelia Bilinsky
My name is Paco the Pig.
I have come here, all dressed up
in my best suit and bow tie,
because I want to tell you
something about God our Father,
something that you may not know.
It is something so important that once you know it,
it can change your life.
But first, a few questions: Suppose you have a best friend. You love your friend and your friend loves you. You have great times playing together. How many of you have a friend like that?
Now suppose one day you tell a lie about your best friend and it goes around the whole school and your friend hears about it. How is your friend going to feel about you?
Well, maybe you'll say you're sorry and your friend forgives you. But suppose one day you are at your friend's house and you take home one of your friend's favourite games. You are careless with this game and it gets completely wrecked. How is your friend going to feel about you now? Not very happy, I'm sure. And suppose you keep on doing things that hurt your friend. By and by, your friend won't want to be your friend any more. Even if you say, “I'm sorry!”, she might not speak to you at school. She might not invite you to her birthday party. She might not even want to look at you. And everybody will say you deserved this because of the way you treated your friend.
Well, boys and girls, what I have come to tell you is that our God is not like that friend. Our God is very different. And, believe it or not, it is a story about a pig that shows us what God is really like! It is a story that Jesus told, and well, to be truthful, it isn't just about a pig, but there were pigs in the story. And since I am a pig, I am very eager to tell you this story.
There was once a man who had two sons. The father loved his sons and gave them everything they needed. They had a good family life, good things to eat, comfortable clothes to wear and enough work to keep them busy. But as time went by, the younger son became restless. He wanted to be on his own. He thought of all the fun he could have if he didn't have to live in his father's house. So one day, he asked his father: “Father, when you die, I'm going to get half of everything you own, am I not?”
“Yes,” said the father, wondering why his son was asking such a question.
“Well, “ continued the son, “I don't want to wait until you die to get what's coming to me. I want it now.”
A big pain shot through the father's heart. He loved his son deeply. He didn't want to lose him. But he also wanted his son to be free, to make his own choices.
“If that is what you want, I will divide up my property now. Half of it is yours.”
Within a few days, the younger son had sold his half of the property. He took the money and went far away. Oh what a life he was going to have! He bought fancy clothes and rented a place of his own. He spent every night in the company of new friends and loose women, feasting, drinking and dancing.
Then one day, his money was gone. He had wasted every penny. His new friends quickly deserted him, now that he was penniless. His landlord kicked him out of his apartment. The restaurants would not feed him because he had no money to pay.
The young man had no choice but to look for work. He finally found a job at a farm, looking after the farmer's pigs. He had to bring them food and water and clean up their poop. He got dirty and his clothes began to stink.
One day as he brought the pigs a big basket full of bean pods and vegetable scraps, he realized just how hungry he himself was. He wished he could eat some of those bean pods, but the farmer hadn't said he could have any. This was the pig's food. He tossed the bean pods and vegetable scraps into the pig pen. The pigs came running and began to chomp on the food. The young man watched one little pink pig in particular, which was snorting, grunting and chewing and looking up from time to time with a satisfied grin. When he had finished eating, the pig rolled around happily in the mud.
“Boy, you've got it good!” the young man said to the pig.
And then he remembered.
Back home at his father's house, everyone had plenty to eat, his father, his mother, his brother, the servants, the hired workers, the animals and even the pigs. And here he was, practically starving to death.
He made a decision. “I'm going back! I'm going to tell my father: I am sorry for what I have done. I am not worthy to be your son any more, but take me back as one of your servants.”
And so he set out on the long dusty road back to his father's house. Tired, ragged, and very hungry, he came in sight of the gate of his old home. He didn't know if he should go on or turn around. But who did he see standing at the gate, as if waiting for him? It was his father! From still a long way off, the father recognized him and ran to him with his arms wide open.
“I am sorry, “ the son started to say, “I am not worthy to be your son, but take me back as one of your hired workers.”
But the father would not listen any farther. He called to his servants. “Quick, bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. And prepare a feast! We are going to celebrate. For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost but now he has been found.” And so the celebration began.
And that, boys and girls, is a story that tells us just how much God loves us. He is not like the friend who won't speak to us if we do something wrong. No, God is like the father in this story. He never stops loving us. We are his children. Of course, we should always try to be good loving children of God, but when we do something wrong, let us not wait long to make it right again. Remember God is always waiting for us to say “I'm sorry! With all my heart, I am sorry!” and then he takes us back immediately as if nothing had happened. God wants us to be happy together with him here on earth and forever in heaven.
And speaking of happy, I am happy that I have told you this story. And once I take off this silly bow tie, I am going back to the pig pen. There's plenty of food to eat and lots of mud to roll around in. You wouldn't believe how happy I am going to be then!