Of Fathers and Forgiveness

In a chat with a friend earlier today the topic got around to the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. We were agreed that the dark cloud in the story was not the returning wastrel but rather the self-righteous elder brother, who confirmed that he had always operated out of painful duty to honour his father (not out of love or thankfulness).

I would suggest that the story infers another dark image; the farm neighbour down the road who earlier saw the boy hiking in rags and filth and a hang-dog countenance, and got "on the telephone" to forewarn the Father:

"Chester, it's Lloyd. How ya doin'? Say, Chester I want you to know that that no-good boy of yours Flip is about five minutes from your front door. He looks awful. He must have really blown whatever opportunities he thought that he might have had. Has nothing to show for it. Probably frittered away a lot of your hard earned cash in the process. I wouldn't blame you man if you refused him into your house. Thankless young punk. Just like so many of them today. My eldest Roger included. Haven't seen him in nine years. Rumour has it he is hooked up with some divorcee on the Coast. Might never see him again. No loss.

Well I thought I should give you the heads-up. After all, what are neighbours for? Hopefully he won't hang around for long. Talk to ya soon." Click.

Art by Clark Kelly Price
But we all know what the Father in the parable did do at the earliest possible opportunity. Read it once a month and for so long as it takes you to get a true look at the eager, loving heart of our Heavenly Father. You will cherish that Heart. You will draw close. (Luke 15:11-32)

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