Chapel Makeup Paper #1
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming is a wonderful book written by Henri J. Nouwen in 1992. It is a story that intertwines the parable of the prodigal sons with one man’s, Nouwen, faith and obsession with Rembrandt’s painting, Return of the Prodigal Son, that was inspired by the parable. Rembrandt’s intentions for the painting were to tell three stories, his own, Humanity’s, and God’s. Throughout the book, Nouwen shares his journey and faith relating to Rembrandt’s painting and the inspiration it created for him.
Nouwen starts the book out exhausted from one of his six week lecture tours that he had taken across the United States. He takes refuge in the L’Arche community in France while he reenergizes himself before going back out on another study tour. While Nouwen is on his stay at L’Arche, he observes a poster, that little did he know at that time just how much that painting would affect the remainder of his life. The poster was an image of Rembrandt’s painting: The Return of the Prodigal Son. As his obsession with this painting grows, he realizes that it has created a new meaning for him and he is now aware of a new vocation beginning to grow within his heart.
As Nouwen becomes increasingly intrigued with the poster of the painting and the ideas behind the painting, he realizes that he has to witness this painting with his own eyes and wants nothing more than an opportunity to view it. He later gets that wish when he is invited on a trip with some of his friends and colleagues to the Soviet Union. Nouwen becomes so excited when he hears of the trip because he knows the painting is located in the Soviet Union in the city of Leningrad, present day St. Petersburg. The painting is located in the city in a museum called the Hermitage Museum, and where Nouwen is headed is just a short trip away from this location and immediately makes request to...