New International Version
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
I have never looked at this text in the context of death but I believe there is value in using those lenses. The younger son journeys away looking for adventure, life, sin, PARTY. But as some of us have come to realize life does include parties but
it also has times that are most empty, alone, bleak and frightening. Being alive for most of us by choice or not is the journey the younger brother takes. he chooses it we find ourselves there and the pigs smell and the stomach aches with hunger.
Praise God for hunger because sometimes we may not talk to God at all without hunger.
The father, certainly an image of God, says my son was dead and is a live, get a robe, a ring and shoes.
That's what death can be: a new robe for wearing out of this world, a ring - an identity-we belong to God and shoes for glory.
I strongly believe that the empty, alone, bleak and frightening are left here on earth and in God's glorious presence we see the change of dying on earth and coming alive in heaven.