Day 18 - March 14
Wesley Theological Seminary Associate Dean for Admissions; WTS Graduate -- MDiv 1985 and DMin 1995
|Superpower:||Folding paper cranes|
What about the pigs?
The Gospel for today is “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32). We know all our scripture began as oral tradition. I bet that if you got together with three or four friends around a campfire, dinner table or sitting on the front porch as a “community of remembering”, that you could recite your best corporate version of this story by taking turns beginning with “There was a man who had two sons . . .” and ending with “rejoice... he was lost and has been found”.
Who would you name in the story? A younger brother, the parent (usually the father), the older brother, a servant. Do you remember those who don’t get named? The other parent (probably the mother), maybe a sister and a cook or the wife of the younger brother. What about the people the younger brother partied with to squander his money? Or the citizen of that other country who hired the older brother to tend the pigs? What about the pigs?
A few years ago, the Luce Center for the Arts here at Wesley hosted an exhibit in the Dadian Gallery that was all images of “The Prodigal Son” parable. It included prints and illustrations going back 500 years and paintings as recent as 20 years ago. Many were a sequence of pictures showing the various scenes in this story.
I learned from this exhibit that of all the moments we remember in this parable, artists most enjoy portraying the younger son with the pigs. Why? Perhaps the pigs are more fun for artists than trying to show the human emotions and interactions. Or, maybe because the younger son was with the pigs at his moment of realization that he could ask forgiveness and return home.
Gratitude today that we can remember in community that we have a generous and forgiving God who welcomes us back again and again.