Friday, March 29, 2013

Prodigal Son: More Sequels

Last Friday, my Gospels classes, mostly sophomores with a sprinkling of juniors and seniors, tested over the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. We spent several days looking at this well-known parable which is really two stories of two very different brothers. You know the gist. The younger son of a wealthy man demands his share of the estate and the father gives it to him. The boy goes far away and blows the fortune it took decades to amass. When he hits rock bottom and comes to his senses, he makes the long trip home, preparing his apology. But, the father sees him and sprints to his youngest, setting off a celebration. However, the older, responsible son is angry that the father has accepted his nere-do-well sibling and refuses to join in the party. We explained the father represents God, the older son is the Pharisees, and the Prodigal stands for sinners who come home. For their discussion question, the students had to write a sequel to the story. Here is a sample. Girls are in pink, boys in blue, and all used by permission. Warning- they don't all have perfectly happy endings!

If the older son listened to his father, things would still have been stiff in his family for awhile. But since it was in the old times and there were  plenty of homicides, it might have been possible that the older son would kill the younger. Plus, the older son represented the Pharisees and they are known for keeping grudges. If the younger son did live, he would probably not go back to his old ways because if he truly repented, he would have known that it would hurt his father. Hopefully, both the sons would live and get married and have children. If I were the father I would not give my younger boy any more of the money in a new will because it would just cause more strife between the two brothers.

The family in ten years will fall apart. The father would be the only thing keeping his sons together, but he would soon die. After his death, the older son would be upset because his brother got a share of the estate. He would then depart and leave everything in the younger brother’s hand. After a couple of months, the younger son would lose everything and go out in search of his brother. He would find him deathly ill in his house with his family. The younger son would pray to God to save his brother, but in the end, God says no. However the two brothers reconciled and the older brother died on good terms with his younger brother. They both end up in heaven with their dad.

After ten years of bitterness, the older son finally got his share of the inheritance on the day his father died. The older son, Jim, never forgave the younger brother, Dave, for spending one third of his family’s wealth. Of course, their father didn’t agree with the fighting, but eventually, he had no choice but to let it go. Their father died of old age and left the inheritance and the estate to Jim, and everything else to Dave. Jim carried on the family business while Dave was off traveling again to some far off land when he should be home taking care of his father. He always took advantage of his father’s love, and never fully understood how deep it was. But now that his father is dead, he travels back home to comfort his brother and they confess to each other and end up loving each other again. Jim shared the family business and Dave got married and started a family.

When the ten years passed, the father died and in his final moment, he gave more of the wealth to the youngest and less to the older son. The older son took his anger out on his brother and took all of his share. The older son kicked the youngest out of the house to wander forever. Two years passed and the young son returned back home to tell his brother of his hardships. He told him that he prayed for help for the first year and God saw his faith and rewarded him,  showing him the light! The younger son was able to get land and become rich, making the older son jealous and  he lost everything. His brother sought repentance and the story of the father and the younger son reconciling happened between the younger son and the older son!  All was well and the younger son took his brother in.                

In ten years, I see the family being happy. I see the younger brother maturing and obeying God’s word and the older brother trying to understand God. It’s not easy seeing a brother or sister get lots of benefits for doing wrong and if it were me (the older brother) I would feel indifferent towards my sibling. That’s why I don’t expect the older brother to love his younger brother, but in any situation, you still have to respect them. I also think that through time, things would get better between the brothers.

Applicable quote of the day:
'Ironically, it was the father's blessing that actually "financed" the prodigal son's trip away from the Father's face! and it was the son's new revelation of his poverty of heart that propelled him back into his Father's arms. Sometimes we use the very blessings that God gives us to finance our journey away from the centrality of Christ. It's very important that we return back to ground zero, to the ultimate eternal goal of abiding with the Father's in intimate communion.'
Tommy Tenney, (The God Chasers: "My Soul Follows Hard After Thee")

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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