By Rev Angela C Bosfield
Our Lord says that he is the bread of life and that we have need of daily bread.
Let us use this image of bread to approach the study of Holy Scripture, making our study a form of kneading the dough of the Holy Spirit within us to help others to taste and see how good the Lord is.
There are many ways to pray the scriptures, but one way is to take a passage or story and allow it to speak to us in depth by working with it for a period of time. Let us use the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32 NRSV) to discover connections which have not been made in the past.
In verse 11, we read that there were two sons. Begin to think about these words and the associations that they may bring: sibling rivalry, various family dynamics such as the favouritism of the Joseph story and the jealousy of the brothers, your relationship with your own father, Jesus as the Son of God and our adoption as children of God.
God will reveal to you many layers of meaning as you proceed in this prayerful meditation of phrases such as “my share of the estate” (verse 12), the squandering of wealth in “wild living” (drug addiction, addictions, multiple sexual partners), and often in a “distant country” (verse 13) such as the United States, Cuba, or other destinations where Bahamians go to avoid detection.
Not very much has changed in the way that human beings are tempted to sin.
Have you been tempted to go to a show or engage in some activity because ‘nobody will know me’?
The remedy is also still the same for those suffering from feelings of unworthiness, inferiority, shame and guilt.
Come home to God. As you reflect on the father’s willingness not only to be reconciled but to rejoice and celebrate, it challenges us to look at our own attitudes of compassion rather than anger, forgiveness rather than condemnation, expectation of future good rather than constant criticism and reminder of transgression.
In the older brother, we discover yet another form of rebellion as he refuses to cooperate with his father’s pleas. He hardens his heart and displays a disobedient, disrespectful, resentful, bitter, hateful and ungrateful manner. He is the prodigal who “slaved” at home with little real love for his father or pleasure in his presence. Both sons failed to follow the father’s fine example.
It is for this reason that we have Jesus who enters the drama by telling the story. He is really the third son who will teach us just what we are to be like. With whom do you identify most in the original story? In what way are we ‘lost’ and in a ‘pigsty’? Our Lord comes into the pigsty with us to get us to come out, not waiting for us to ‘come to our senses’.
We all really do need a Saviour and a Lord to feed, nourish and strengthen us with daily spiritual bread.