Rebellion + Reluctance And Love In The Midst of It All

 
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In today’s Gospel Jesus is once again trying to show the pharisees the heart of God when they complain he is sitting with sinners. And so he offers them a parable that does just that.

The Young one

The parable begins with the younger brother asking his Father for his inheritance. In other words, he asked for what he would receive had his Father been dead. With the love that we see displayed by the Father later on, it begs the question, why would he want to leave in the first place? Why oh why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit? It all points to the idea that something better might be on the other side.

I leave home every time I lose faith in the voice that calls me the Beloved and follow the voices that offer a great variety of ways to win the love I so much desire.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son

He remembered, that his Father had paid servants. It wasn’t a deep sorrow or shame that moved him to return home, it was mostly desperation. Either way, he realised that he had to be accountable for the decisions he had made. He could not have imagined his Father’s response, even with all those years by his side. . But here’s the thing, we imagine people in our own image and we tend to do the same with God. It’s so important to remember, who you are and where you have come from in the midst of struggle, even if out of desperation, it will always lead you home. In what ways do you need to come home to the Father? What do you need to remember?

 
The Prodigal Daughter by Charlie Mackesy

The Prodigal Daughter by Charlie Mackesy

 

The Older Bro

The older brother reflects back to us what we look like when we ‘should’ ourselves into doing things without any true desire to do the very things we do most zealously. He lives in a world of reward and punishment, and would be more comfortable had his younger brother been punished for his transgressions. How often do we seek to hold people to the standards we ourselves reluctantly live by? How often do we look towards others with envy and at the same breathe condemn them?

So many of us have been the younger brother and then gone to other extreme of believing that the Father thinks like we do. Since we didn’t experience the compassion of the Father we opted instead to be a paid servants.

This quote from a previous blog exemplifies the attitude we are to hold if we are to be honest and authentic in our desires and actions.

All the world ever truly needs is not for you to should yourselves into certain manners of behaviour but simply to remember your self. And in that remembrance of this truth of who you are, the habits that you built to deal with a foreign world of separation and fear, those can now more readily dissolve.

Rev Nhien Dougherty

 
 

and then there’s the Father

‘While he was still a long way off’ These words echo as I try to fathom the heart that loves so eagerly after such being hurt by someone you love. Before he had made amends, or even truly repented there his Father was ready to embrace him. I can imagine this son, dirty and thin, the smell of husks oozing from his skin, his face low with shame and as his Father sees him, he embraces him, and kisses him. Not after he’s cleaned up or put on fresh clothes, in his mess his Father meets him. How many of us actually believe that the Father meets us in our mess? In your darkest, or most shameful moments do we believe in a God that is eager to meet us right where we are with his gentleness and compassion?

He is mother as well as father. He touches the son with a masculine hand and a feminine hand. He holds, and she caresses. He confirms and she consoles. He is, indeed, God, in whom both manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and motherhood, are fully present. That gentle caressing right hand echoes for me the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her baby at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you. Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son

Give me the grace to remember you and myself when I feel forgotten.

Never allow me to forget the kindness and compassion of your embrace.

I want to celebrate with you Lord, when your love brings someone back to life. Teach me how to dine with the broken parts of myself and others.

Amen

By Charlene Ogu

 
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