Challenging Thoughts:Return of the Prodigal Son Part 1

I’m reading some great books right now and thought I’d share some of the most thought-provoking and interesting comments. I’d love to hear what you think, but please don’t judge a book by just a couple excerpts.

Here’s my first post.  I look forward to chatting with you!

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
The author reflects on Rembrandt’s famous painting and shares the spiritual journey these thoughts have taken him on. He looks at the three main characters in the parable, the prodigal son, the father, and the older brother, discussing how they are portrayed by Rembrandt and what he’s learned from them.

I love that Nouwen allows art to be a way for God to speak to him and I am challenged myself, to no longer look at great works of art, be they music, paintings, sculptures, etc. as just man’s creation. I want to ask the Lord, “What do you want to say to me through this?”

I’ve been reading this book VERY slowly; it’s only about 150 pages but it’s taken me about 6 months to get through it. I like slowly chewing on each morsel and letting it sink in before reading ahead. I’ve done lots of underlining and writing along the margins. Here’s what’s speaking to me right now. 

An Invitation to Joy
Taken from pgs 114-115
“God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end, nor because thousands of people have been converted and are now praising him for his goodness. No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found. What I am called to is to enter into that joy. It is God’s joy, not the joy that the world offers. It is the joy that comes from seeing a child walk home amid all the destruction, devastation, and anguish of the world….
I am not accustomed to rejoicing in things that are small, hidden, and scarcely noticed by the people around me. I am generally ready and prepared to receive bad news, to read about wars, violence, and crimes, and to witness conflict and disarray….
I have to learn to ‘steal’ all the real joy there is to steal and lift it up for other to see. Yes, I know that not everybody has been converted yet, that there is not yet peace everywhere, that all pain has not yet been taken away, but still, I see people turning and returning home; I hear voices that pray; I notice moments of forgiveness, and I witness many signs of hope. I don’t have to wait until all is well, but I can celebrate every little hint of the Kingdom that is at hand.” 

There’s so much more I want to share. But let’s chew on this morsel for a little while before we move on. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

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2 responses to “Challenging Thoughts:Return of the Prodigal Son Part 1

  1. Amen. It’s such a choice for us, each day…there is so much to celebrate, so much of God’s goodness and glory around. We glorify Him by noticing! Good stuff.

  2. I imagine that if believers were more cheerful and positive, choosing to see the reasons to rejoice instead of the reasons to be negative, we would have such a greater impact on the lives of those around us who do not yet believe. Most people want joy, they want a reason to celebrate. If we can offer that through our delight in our Father and the small joys of living for him it would be life changing for us and for them.

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