02.10.2019 | “Prodigal | Week 2: The Younger Son”
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Describe your childhood home (if applicable). What does the word “home” mean to you?
For many of us, we are so familiar with the story of this father and two sons that we lose sight of the message, of its radical nature. Remembering the context, and what Jesus is trying to do (which is to give an explanation of why he offers friendship to outsiders and “fringe people”, and to answer the question, “What is God like?”), try to read this part of his 3-part parable with fresh eyes.
Read Luke 15:11-32 (if you want to recall the first two parts of the parable, read verses 1-10 first).
Over the next few weeks, we will focus on the three main characters of this part of the story, beginning this week with the younger son.
When the younger son asks for his share of the inheritance and leaves the family home, contextually it is like saying to his father, “I wish you were dead,” and then leaving behind everything and everyone who has been a part of his life.
What could cause someone to do something like this? What might be his motivation?
In verses 14-19, the younger son decides to return home. What appears to be his motivation? Do you think he has “repented”, or changed his heart? Why or why not?
On Sunday, Eric mentioned that some “tools” for figuring out when we have left home include anger, jealousy, resentment, or a desperate hunger for power, security, and unhealthy relationships.
First, could you describe the relationship between leaving home—the place where you are called “Beloved”—and things like anger and jealousy and resentment, etc.?
In other words, why are those voices counter to the voice that calls us “Beloved”?
Or how about this: How does hearing the voice called you, “Beloved” reduce and/or eliminate anger and jealousy, and resentment, etc.?
Second, in what ways are you like the younger son? Have you left home and journeyed far away from the voice that calls you “Beloved”?
What would it look like to return home?
Getting Out of the Hole
Most of us have left home (at least once!); the trick is to learn to come back and sit with the Father who longs to call us “Beloved”, or “Child.”
This week, make it a point to spend time with your heavenly Father, and hear His voice calling you back home.
Continue to look for areas in your life in which you are still experiencing resentment and anger, or an unhealthy relationship with power, status, or sex. These are indicators of ways in which we still need to “return home.”
In addition, consider who else in your life might need to hear the invitation to come home. Who is your “one more”, and how can you invite them into this spiritual journey to the perfect, reckless love of the Father?
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
The Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
Jacob and the Prodigal by Kenneth Bailey (this is more of a scholarly approach to this text).
What’s Going On This Week (see MYE3 for more details)
* Please see mye3.org for details.