Recently I received a newly-published book of hymn texts, "My Light and My Salvation" by Canadian Lutheran pastor, Kurt E. Reinhardt (currently serving at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kurtzville, Ontario.) "With Longing Heart the Father Waits" is one of the many fine hymn texts contained in Pastor Reinhardt's new book. I am thoroughly enjoying working my way through this 68-page volume of his hymn texts and poems. (Pastor Reinhardt's hymn "Baptismal Waters Cover Me" is found in Lutheran Service Book, #616.) This new book of hymns was published in 2008 by Redeemer Press of Fort Wayne, Indiana and its ISBN is 978-1-934328-02-6.
Jesus' Parable of the Prodigal Son could be called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. The word "prodigal" means "extremely wasteful." A casual reader of this parable could argue that the father was far too generous with his love for his rebellious son. Yet all sinners know such a Father's generous love. Jesus' parable indeed gives us a glimpse into the heart of our heavenly Father, whose great mercy and grace can never be fully sounded--they are too deep! In His great love, the Father clothes His own dear Son in our filth and shame in order to pave our way back to His estate. Not only that, for undeserving and rebel sons and daughters, He assures us again and again of His love and forgiveness in His holy Supper. Prodigal love indeed, for all our times of casting His precious pearls before the swine of our own sinful desires.
1. With longing heart the father waits,
Like a watchman at his gates,
His gaze fixed on the homeward way
In hope his child might come today.
2. From far away the father knows
His son in filthy tattered clothes,
Whose once familiar face and name
Lie buried deep beneath his shame.
3. From far away the father knows
His son, who in greed's fever chose
To fill his soul with poisoned wine
And cast his pearls amongst the swine.
4. From far away the father knows
The son who caused him many woes;
Yet love with arms outstretching wide
In heedless joy runs to his side.
5. With longing heart our Father waits
For His lost children at His gates;
A ring, a cloak, and shoes lie near
While Love's own feast awaits them here.