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