What I’m Thinking: A Story for All

We usually think of the story of the Prodigal Son as being about, well, the prodigal son. It’s a statement of hope for all those who wonder if they will find a warm welcome when they return home. Yet there’s also a message for others as well: for those who might deny the welcome, and for those yearning for the reconciliation of loved ones.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about one of Jesus’ most famous parables: the story of the Prodigal Son. It’s in the 15th chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32).

You probably know the story.

A man had two sons. The younger one decided to go off and see the world, and he spent his inheritance doing it. Broke, impoverished, he goes home, intending to go to work for his father, who sees him coming, puts a good suit of clothes on him, puts a ring on his finger, and kills the fatted calf in order to celebrate.

The older brother hears about it and won’t even come to the house until the father goes out and says, “Everything that is mine is yours, but we had to celebrate and be glad, because your brother was lost and now he’s found. He was dead and now he lives.”

Sometimes I think of this as the story of the prodigal son; sometimes I think of this as the story of the older brother. That might be one of the powers of this particular story. It is for all of us in many ways.

It is for those of us who have been that prodigal: the one who has not lived up to expectations, the one who may in fact gone off into ways of living that were wasteful, even destructive, even harmful. In the story, even such a one finds welcome home.

It’s also the story, though, of the elder brother: those who have done the right thing, and those who find it difficult to welcome back those who have wandered off. Oh, yes, that’s a difficult thing: to be in the right, and to welcome home the one who has done wrong.

And this may also be for the parents of the world, caught between the children who wander and the children who remain, those who yearn to see their children come home again, and those who yearn to see their children reconciled.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on March 24, 2019

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