Sermon Reflection for Sunday, March 6, 2016
The Prodigal Son is one of the most important parables Jesus shares. There are at least three perspectives one can take when listening to this: the prodigal son, the older son, and the father.
We were asked to think of a time we deeply disappointed our parents, guardians, mentors, or other loved ones. “Life was ok and then you made a sinful choice.” We have all been there and we have all hoped that forgiveness could happen, but those relationships can become strained or nonexistent as a result of our poor choices.
Then there’s the perspective of the older son. He has done everything he is supposed to do and his reward is seeing his father throw a party for his irresponsible brother. He chooses anger and resentment when he should have been just as happy that his “screw up” brother came back home. Again, we’ve all been there.
The perspective of the father, a man begging his son to return to love and safety, was distasteful for the time, but necessary to illustrate. Instead of a father that might slap away such an irresponsible son, this story is of a father whose hands are welcoming and embracing. This is beautifully illustrated in Rembrandt’s painting on the subject of the Prodigal Son. The father in this painting embraces his son in tattered clothing with one masculine hand and one feminine hand – that itself is worthy of being examined in a separate discussion.
Our task, overall, from this parable is to search for that grace-filled father-mother and that we recognize ourselves in the older and younger son. In this crazy world, we need to be the imitators of God and be a blessing to others.
Respectfully submitted by Meghann K. Humphreys