The Gospel lesson for this week is that wonderful story of the Prodigal Son, as told by Luke. This is such a great scripture! As a sermon text, it presents different challenges than the last one, though.
The challenge, in my mind, is how can the sermon stay out of the way of the story Jesus tells? It's tempting to simply read the text and sit down.
You can't improve on the set up, or the characters, or the conflict. And how do you "improve on" the way Jesus leaves the story - which is by posing the question, "What kind of a son are you? Prodigal or Elder?"
I know this story is familiar to everyone. But read it again. Notice how Jesus plays with "dead and alive" images. "full and empty", too. And how the relationships are understood by the characters. Everyone knows Jesus is a great teacher, but He's even better than you think!