Category: Returning to the Father

Free to Choose

Free to choose

            to remain in darkness

.

Or move nearer

            the light of love

.

Which now shines

            so brightly

.

Regardless or not

            of our acceptance.

.

from ‘Returning to the Father’, a sequence inspired by Henri Nouwen’s book about Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son

Desiring to Bless

 Always desiring to bless

            the arms once memorably

.

Spread in pain

            wait to rest

.

And bleed love

            that will soak the spirit

.

Dye in new colours

            the garments of life.

.

from ‘Returning to the Father’, a sequence inspired by Henri Nouwen’s book about Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son

Always There

He is always there

            arms reaching out

.

From the end of time

            to its beginning

.

Eternally

            offering welcome

.

To all who waken

            from the sleep of death

.

And run towards

            his illimitable love.

.

from ‘Returning to the Father’, a sequence inspired by Henri Nouwen’s book about Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son

Inspiring Paintings: The Return – Rembrandt b. 15th July, 1606

 

This painting is so powerful that Henri Nouwen, another of my “inspirers”, wrote a whole book about it…

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At first sight, you might miss the amazing contrast of darkness and light, and the way the light bathes the loving father and the sorrowful son.

It’s easy to miss the hand of the father, that hold the son so tenderly.  Is one a man’s hand and one a woman’s hand?

And it’s easy to miss the shattered shoe of the son.  He has been through the mill.  He has walked a long way.  He has been humiliated.  And now he has returned.

I wrote a whole collection based on Henri Nouwen’s book about this painting, called Returning to the Father, and I post a few poems from this collection below:

On the darkness and the light:

 

Hidden for so long

the light glowed brighter

 

As the years removed

the layers of darkness

 

Flesh begins to fail

and spirit starts to show more clearly

 

It is time to live seriously

touch with hands of blessing

 

All fragile holy things

that come in need of love.

 

On the son’s long walk home:

 

On the long walk home

I prepared my explanation many times

I could justify

every wrong I ever did

 

I could not think his heart to be so great

it could simply forgive

 

And how could I accept

that moment of complete

overwhelming of the soul

by an impossible love?

 

The full title of the painting is The Return of the Prodigal Son

It is based on this parable in Luke 

Henri Nouwen’s book is called The Return of the Prodigal Son : A Story of Homecoming