1. This story touches all of us deeply if we let it. Have you been the youngest son, the eldest son, the father? Do you have a son or daughter or grandson or daughter in the far country? Do you have a brother, or sister who won't come in and celebrate? Do you have a father, or mother, who never ran to meet you or never ran to meet their children? - take some time to reflect on particular aspects this story is touching in you and your story, today, and pray that God would again be running out to meet us. Outrunning our humiliation, shame, and anguish. Calling us in to joy and delight.
2. What are practices we can observe, or sensitivity that we can develop in ourselves so that when the Father pleads with us, we say "I'd love to come in and celebrate with you"?
3. How is God calling you today to delight with him? To share in his joy?
4. Off the Wall: Find Rembrandt's painting of the younger son in the brothel - it is a self-portrait of Rembrandt as the younger son living the high life. Rembrandt painted this when he was younger. Look at his face and his enjoyment in the painting. Then look at Rembrandt's painting of the return of the prodigal son - and see the blindness, and age of the father. This isn't a self-portrait, but Rembrandt did paint it when he was much older than the earlier painting. This painting was completed in the year he died. He had outlived his wives and all but one of his children, and he had become a poor man.