It is a day like this that makes me wonder why I am a sports fan. Woke up today to find out that the coach for my alma mater’s football team (in whom we had great hopes for reviving the program) up and took a new job in the middle of the night. That was the news I woke to early this morning and it started me off on a not good foot. I was reading message boards and twitter and getting myself generally really frustrated to begin the day. Not the best way to start my day.
But then I settled into my meditations and my daily reading for the day and was reminded of something that stirred in me yesterday. I am re-reading Henri Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal Son (which you should read if you haven’t read it) and he was writing about the three “lost” parables in Luke 15 that all follow a similar pattern. Something/someone is lost, a person goes all out to find them and when the sheep/coin/son is found, there is an epic celebration. As he moved to the prodigal story specifically he shared something that I don’t remember reading or seeing.
In the painting by Rembrandt, the father’s hands are dramatically different from one another. The left hand is very stereotypically masculine while the right is very feminine looking. And both rest upon the shoulders of the son who has returned. Nouwen writes:
As soon as I recognized the difference between the two hands of the father, a new world of meaning opened up for me. The Father is not simply a great patriarch. He is mother as well as father. He touches the son with a masculine hand and a feminine hand. He holds, and she caresses. He confirms and she consoles. He is, indeed, God, in whom both manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and motherhood, are fully present. That gentle caressing right hand echoes for me the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her baby at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you. Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son
The whole love of God in display in Rembrandt’s painting. The whole love of God that longs for each of God’s beautifully created children. The whole love of God that seeks us out. The whole love of God that brings the joy of being found. The whole love of God that rejoices with each one who returns home. The whole love of God that is present whether we return in humility like the younger or whether we are outside the party in anger and in anger.
After I read this section I saw this lone penny on my walk with Scout. Just this one penny on the path. The lost penny now found. I am grateful to be found in and by Jesus.