Imago Dei Community

Re-Entry - Part 2 - - Central

Episode Summary

Rembrandt depicted the story of the prodigal son as a picture of an embrace (see below). This image does not capture the action of the story, but rather the stillness of the Father’s embrace. For Rembrandt, coming home to the Father equates to an embrace. Is this how we read this story? Culturally (contextually), when this son leaves home with his inheritance he is telling everyone “I wish my Father was dead!” What kind of son would do this? A son who is trying to rid himself of the identity of being a son. A son who desires autonomy. We are all that son. For those who have read, and even studied, this passage before it is likely that we have viewed “prodigals” (even ourselves) as those who do very bad things. This foreign country that the prodigal travels to is a country defined by bad morality, isn’t it? This is viewing the story through a moral matrix. Understood at a much more significant level the distant country is actually a country marked by loss of relationship—a relational matrix. This is a country we all flee to on a regular basis—leaving perfect relationship with our heavenly Father. The Father’s country is one we need to return to. And when we do, what we receive is not permission to partake of some of his Kingdom...but rather the most intimate embrace of our lives. This story is one that sets us up to receive. We bring confession to the story. But that confession is only real when it is met by God’s scandalous grace. At that point, we have nothing to do but receive. It is in this place that we realize we are not coming home to God to be one of his hired hands, but to be his sons and daughters. Luke 15:11-21

Episode Notes

Rembrandt depicted the story of the prodigal son as a picture of an embrace (see below). This image does not capture the action of the story, but rather the stillness of the Father’s embrace. For Rembrandt, coming home to the Father equates to an embrace. Is this how we read this story?
Culturally (contextually), when this son leaves home with his inheritance he is telling everyone “I wish my Father was dead!” What kind of son would do this? A son who is trying to rid himself of the identity of being a son. A son who desires autonomy. We are all that son. For those who have read, and even studied, this passage before it is likely that we have viewed “prodigals” (even ourselves) as those who do very bad things. This foreign country that the prodigal travels to is a country defined by bad morality, isn’t it? This is viewing the story through a moral matrix. Understood at a much more significant level the distant country is actually a country marked by loss of relationship—a relational matrix. This is a country we all flee to on a regular basis—leaving perfect relationship with our heavenly Father. The Father’s country is one we need to return to. And when we do, what we receive is not permission to partake of some of his Kingdom...but rather the most intimate embrace of our lives.
This story is one that sets us up to receive. We bring confession to the story. But that confession is only real when it is met by God’s scandalous grace. At that point, we have nothing to do but receive. It is in this place that we realize we are not coming home to God to be one of his hired hands, but to be his sons and daughters.
Luke 15:11-21