Scripture Aesthetics: The Prodigal Son

Few stories in Scripture can affect the heart as profoundly as that of the prodigal from Luke 15:11-32. Despite the parable’s fame, I find it sad that we so often limit the cast of characters to two rather than three. (I tend to identify more with the guy usually left in the shadows—the older brother.) Ready to immerse your senses in this gospel-shaped tale? Gather around the feet of Jesus. Instead of, “Once upon a time,” He opens with, “There was a man who had two sons.”

The father: hair of brightest silver, deep conversations about the meaning of life, a worn spyglass scanning the horizon, laughter through tears, long cashmere robes, the biggest bear hug you’ve ever gotten, Christmas morning, the scent of fig and vetiver, party invitations

The prodigal: practical jokes, fingers always grasping for more, the clink of champagne glasses, a roguish grin, Las Vegas travel guides, learning the hard way, empty bank accounts, long journeys home, a well-worded apology, the grace of sandals on cracked feet, barbecue wafting on the breeze 

The older brother: endless rows of vegetable sprouts, a sweat-soaked reputation, perfect attendance, Ones on the Enneagram, spiced leather, falling into bed exhausted, gathering storm clouds, a deep sense of justice, sandstone, plantation work songs, striving for what you already have

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