Thursday, August 23, 2007

Creative Writing: Luke 15:11-32, The Father's Heart

"I raised him better than this."

At least, he thought that he had. The grief washed over him again, the kind of grief that assails with pictures of love. Tiny hands clenching and unclenching, soft hands and baby smells come, as bold and real as yesterday, undimmed by time and longing. Visions of skinned knees and big hugs and I love yous roll in his heart like slow moving tides, gently grinding him to powder. Where had the time gone?

Oh that boy! That boy who said what he thought, that boy who would not quit until he had it. He had admired that in his son, even when the boy was wrong. The boy had a will to follow his heart, come what may. In the end, that may be why he gave into the demand, that heartless demand, born from the selfish heart of youth. He would not be dissuaded until he had it.

He took his inheritance from the living and left him as dead. And part of him was dead, in his greed the boy had taken more than money. Part of the father's life was bound up in that boy, and he was killing it slowly and cruelly. Try as he might, the father still saw his son, his beloved son, even as the boy made his willful demands, even as he granted him the request that would surely be his end. The father died a thousand deaths each evening on his porch. Straining to see him return, hoping that all was not lost, and wondering if he had done the right thing.

That is why he sat on his porch and watched. He knew, even as doubt nagged him, that he had poured love into that boy. And love is not so easily lost. The boy might seek it in gold, and he might seek it in debauchery and high living, but he would not have it. Not like that. So the father gave him the thing that he thought he wanted, in hopes that he might discover the beauty of the thing he already had.

So the father had banked it all on folly's waste and love's strong chords. Yes, and that was wise, he hoped. He had been a good father because he loved, and it must be enough.


DW said...

Good stuff. To me this is the most beautiful picture of grace and mercy in the NT and I never get tired of hearing it told. The porch part is a great visual.
Would you say the emphasis is greater on mercy or grace?

Sojourner said...


I would say that the emphasis from the father's perspective is love. Of course, love is the fount from which both mercy and grace flow.

Anonymous said...

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If you like it I'll gladly install it for you. If you don't, that's fine, too.

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Sojourner said...


Whoa. That is awesome. Of course you can install it. Where do I sign? What do I do?