This Sunday the gospel of Luke will bring us one of the most familiar and for me, a most treasured story of the human struggle: poor choices, difficult relationships, love and forgiveness. Yes, it’s the story commonly referred to as The Prodigal Son.
During my years as a Chaplain at Springhill Institution a print of Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son hung on the wall behind the chair that guys would sit in when they came for a conversation. And on the bookshelf within easy reach was a copy of a book by the same name by Henri Nouwen.
I used to give this book to the guys who asked about the print on the wall behind them and invite them to read it. I encouraged them to make notes in it and if they wanted, they were welcome to talk with me about what they’d read when they returned the book. There were many conversations started by this image that captures the winding stories of so many of us. In many such conversations I found myself referring to these words in the book:
Unlike a fairy tale, the parable provides no happy ending. Instead, it leaves us face to face with one of life’s hardest spiritual choices: to trust or not to trust…Henri Nouwen
I don’t know where the book or the print is now. I left them both in the office when I left my position at Springhill. I like to think that the print is still on the wall, providing invitation to a conversation that might enable another person to begin the journey home – to trust and know love.
Monday began with our Lenten Study Group: Interfaith Being Love in the World followed by a couple of appointments in Sackville and visits at the hospital. The day ended with a rich and productive meeting of the Welcoming Team with the Chair of the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition. Plans for Rose’s arrival are coming together!
Today I am off to Truro for a meeting followed by preparation time at home.
Wednesday morning will see me in the office. Come and join Open Sky for coffee at 10am. The coffee is hot and you can be guaranteed a cookie or sweet from the bakers at Open Sky! Wednesday afternoon will see me doing visits at the Drew and Autumn Leaves.
I expect Thursday will be devoted to finalizing the liturgy and reflection for Sunday and beginning to plan the services for Holy Week. You can mark on your calendars that a Maundy Thursday Service will take place on April 18th, 6PM at Sackville United Church, and will include a pot-luck supper, communion and foot-washing ritual. And, the Good Friday Service will occur on April 19th at 10AM at the Upper Sackville United Church.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our gatherings on Sunday: 9AM at Upper Sackville United Church or 11AM at Sackville United Church.