My children have a friendly rivalry, each claiming to be the favorite child. It started with a funny Valentine from one of them years ago but they keep it going to this day. When I read the story of the Prodigal Son, which is in this week's Bible Lesson (Luke 15:10-24) I see a bit of that same rivalry.
There is so much to the story. As I continue my search for paintings that show Biblical themes, I remembered that I have a book, The Return of the Prodigal, A Story of Homecoming, on my shelf. It is written by Henry Nouwen and was prompted by his encounter with a reproduction of Rembrant's The Return of the Prodigal, a tremendously moving work of art. It lead him on a journey of deeply personal spiritual learning. I love the way he describes the events leading to the homecoming, the Father's affirmation and welcome, and the reconciliation. It is a powerful reminder that all of us are the children of our heavenly Father and we never lose that status, even when we think we have wandered far from it.
I tucked a note into the book of some thoughts it prompted.
The compassionate Father showed unconditional love, no condemnation.
He lovingly waited for the child to come home, maybe it was that love that drew him there.
He sought only to heal and bless.
The love the child searched for had been always present.
The child was always worth looking for.
His original goodness was intact.
All of God's children are His favorites.
You can look up the painting on-line.
Is sin real? No. It is only the false belief that we are separated from God, from good. No matter where we find ourselves, when we come to ourselves and wake up from the dream or illusion, we have the ability to choose good, to go home. In truth, no dream of evil or error can remove us from the kingdom of God or take away our status as His beloved favorite child.