The Return of the Prodigal Son – An Introduction

Please remember, that we are not gathering this Evening. There are Shrove Tuesday activities at Trinity, Messiah, and elsewhere tonight.  Beginning next Tuesday, February 16, we will begin reading through Fr. Henri J. M. Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (Amazon’s current #1 best seller in Roman Catholicism).  The book is the story of Fr. Nouwen’s encounter with Rembrandt’s painting of the same name based upon Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:11-32.  In the prologue, Nouwen+ relates how he had always been called to the priesthood and had become a well-respected writer and professor at Yale Divinity and later at Harvard Divinity.  However, it was through this painting that Nouwen+ had a “prophetic vision” of viewing others through the eyes of God. As a result, he resigned from his position at Harvard and accepted a position at the L’Arche Daybreak School for the mentally impaired in Toronto – a move from teaching the greatest to the least. 

Within his book, Nouwen+ explores three major themes: 1) how each of us is the spendthrift, prodigal, younger son, and the judgmental, resentful, elder son; 2) how Jesus perfects both the younger and the elder son; and 3) how we are ultimately called to become the loving, forgiving father.  We will spend the next five weeks discussing these issues as we walk through Nouwen’s meditations.  For Tuesday-week (February 16), please read the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2 concerning the leaving of the younger son. Also, please re-read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. As you re-read this parable, ruminate over the younger son – his character, his desires, his actions – before he reaches his decision to return home. Think through where you see yourself (now or in the past) in the actions and the attitude of the younger son. 

Ash Wednesday Schedule:

            Messiah/St. Phillip: 12:15 and 7.

            Trinity: 8, 12, 6:30 (with choir) 

Dinner is at 6. Discussion is at 6:45. Hope to see you here, and please bring a friend.

And God spoke these words saying . . .  Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God gives you.

Exodus 20:1, 12

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