Lana's Reviews > The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen
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Mar 06, 09

Read in February, 2009

The author is a priest who has made a lifetime study of the parable of the prodigal son, in connection with the painting "Prodigal Son" by Rambrandt. Although there are a few points of doctrine that differ from my own faith, I learned from him as he explored how each of us can relate not only to the prodigal son, but to the older son who was not immediately willing to welcome home his brother and how each have to come to the Father and receive his embrace. My favorite part was the third section, when he points out that as we return to the Father and claim our divine "sonship," because we are in his image and are his children, we have not only the potential but the responsibility to become like the Father. As our hands are the ones that reach out, forgive, and heal, we identify with the third figure in the story/painting: the father.
I also loved that he pointed out that the Father gives us an invitation to be joyful. He points out the many times that Jesus describes the kingdom of God with a banquet or a feast at the center, with an invitation to "rejoice with me." Nouwen states: "Celebration belongs to God's kingdom. God not only offers forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing, but wants us to lift up these gifts as a source of joy for all who witness them."
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