From Bystander to Beloved Part 2

 

I have continued reading Henri Nouwen’s book, ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son – a story of homecoming’ a reflection on the Rembrandt painting on the same subject. The latest chapters consider the younger son in the story.  What I found most interesting to learn was that other sketches and paintings from earlier Rembrandt’s life on the subject of the prodigal son had a whole lot more movement in them.  They were dynamic – the Father running out to the younger son, the embrace, perhaps the servants fetching what the father had commanded.  But as Nouwen observes this scene is depicted differently.

It is still.

The moment is elongated, present, yet full of promise.  A moment of stillness, holding to the light much more movement than is comprehensible.  The painting beautifully points to the great emotion and powerful salvation work of God.  Rembrandt has so eloquently painted a perpetual reality- God is finding us.  No matter our perceived distance, no matter our orientation toward him, our Father is always pursuing his children. The touch of blessing may come in unexpected ways, through ordinary people, or in the plainest of situations.  But know this: your Father is moved by you.

 

Father of Grace

The touch of your blessing comes to us

Through unrestrained forgiveness, in unexpected peace

Please find us again and again

Until we know you are overcome by the sight of                        your child

 

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669. 262 cm × 205 cm. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669.
262 cm × 205 cm. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

 

 

 

AUTHOR: Adrian Taylor

I'm a third generation strawberry plant propagator, sometimes poet, backyard theologian and part-time mystic. I live in Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand with my wife Lucy, my son Sam, and daughters Coby and Caris. I enjoy social soccer with the lads and finely crafted IPA.

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