In the main youth room, Larry Brooks was doing his thing…
He ran to one side of the small stage that was set up at one end of the room. “Back up the train! You’re telling me that just cause my brother is back from partying all night and wastin’ all my old man’s money, Dad’s throwing a party for him here…at the house! My house?”
Larry then took a step opposite of where he’d been standing, faced himself (or, what was himself), and instantly became the imaginary friend the brother had been talking to. “No lie man, I saw it myself. Your brother came limpin’ down the street, lookin’ like he been in a fight or somethin’. Then your dad comes running out, tears in his eyes, starts huggin’ him, puts his arms around him, and next thing you know…there’s a party goin’ on!”
Larry assumed his original position. “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard of. I’ve got to check this out for myself.”
At this point Larry jumped off the stage and ran over to the other side of the room. Some of the youth had to turn their chairs in order to keep up with him. He pretended to look inside a window, his hands over his eyes as he peered in. “I don’t believe it, there is a party goin’ on. All over my no good brother.”
Larry did an about-face, and pretended he was on the inside looking out. He opened the invisible door and walked out to meet the brother, only this time he played the father. Larry’s movements were convincing and easy to follow. Most of the youth had smiles on their faces. All loved this one-man show.
“Son, come in, come in, your brother is home at last. Join in on the fun. He has returned to us.”
Larry assumed the role of the brother. “How can you do this, Dad? After all I’ve done. I’ve never lied to you, or ran out on you. I do everything you ask me to do. Ever since mom passed away it’s been you and me. And all he does,” pointing toward the imaginary house, where the imaginary party was going on, in honor of the imaginary brother, “is waste away. He’s no good Dad, and you know it.” And with that, Larry took a bow, as if everyone in the room was applauding, and found the nearest chair where he sat down, out of breath. “Okay, what happens after that, anyone know?”
No one answered. Finally, Sally raised her hand.
“Sally. Whatcha got?”
“The father tells his son that everything he has belongs to him. And that they are celebrating because his brother is back; that he was lost, but now he’s found.”
“Bingo,” said Larry, “and that’s the point, you guys. Jesus loves us even when we screw up. He takes us back unconditionally. No questions asked. Come on back and let the party begin.” He looked around the room. “At no point in this story does the son ever become…not the son. In the same way, when we surrender to Jesus, no matter what, we will always be his. Always. Everyone got it?”
“Cool. Let’s go raid the church kitchen.”
Everyone got up to follow Larry.
Sally and Alicia hung back.
“Is he always like that?” Alicia asked.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Alicia grinned, and they both picked up speed to catch up with the others.
"Whispers" is now available at the FaithWriters ebook store.