Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm reading a small book called TheReturn of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. We know the circuit of the story -- restless boy, asks for partying money/early inheritance, drunkenness, women, pigs, awareness, return, embrace, fattened calf, surly older brother, reprimand.

Rembrandt painted this parable. Nouwen became obsessed with his painting, staring, electrically, studying, contemplating. He unfolds his connections, God's punching, in this book.

Nouwen speaks of how we're all like the prodigal son -- not happy until we're home, until we have the heart for home, until we reach our father's arms who welcomes our wandering.

He speaks of how we're all like the elder son and ends Chapter 4 with this quote: "Both [elder and younger son] needed healing and fogiveness. Both needed to come home. Both needed the embrace of a forgiving father. But from the story itself, as well as from Rembrandt's painting, it is clear that the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home" (66).

There's pride. There's anger. There's "what's mine is mine." All are reasonable. All don't allow a growth but a tightening. I can imagine the continued looks of animosity between the two brothers, building even though the younger desires a new life. Will this conflict run him off again? What happens when the father dies?

What do you do when a family member is jealous of your choices which has caused you pain and sacrifice to make as you turn on a better path?

Perhaps embrace that person? Perhaps define your territory as one which involves love but peace? Perhaps take their pain and carry it? Perhaps focus only on God's delight in who you're becoming through him?

I am relating to this story.

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