If you participated in the Henri Nouwen Book Discussion for Advent (or just quietly followed along), then you already know our book selection for Lent. But if you’re joining us for the first time, you’re in for a treat. We are delighted to announce that Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming has been selected as our focus for discussion throughout Lent 2020.
Released in 1992, The Return of the Prodigal Son quickly became a spiritual classic and has endured as Henri Nouwen’s most popular book, having sold over a million copies. It’s a profound and deeply personal meditation based on the famous painting of the well-known Gospel parable by Rembrandt van Rijn.
In writing about Rembrandt’s painting in light of his own personal journey and experiences, Nouwen explores the familial connection of the three key figures in the painting: the returning younger son who has squandered his inheritance, the loving and forgiving father, and the righteous, yet resentful, older brother.
When Nouwen first encountered a reproduction of the painting, he immediately saw it as a portrayal of God receiving a repentant sinner. A year later, on a trip to Russia, Nouwen spent two days in front of the original masterpiece at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Henri continued to think and write about it for the next four years.
The painting introduced Nouwen to a new revelation of God and of himself. At first, Henri saw himself as the younger brother, full of mistakes, bad choices, and in desperate need of forgiveness; then he saw himself as the pious, yet bitter, older brother. Eventually, Henri grew to recognize that he was called to become the father, the one brimming with love, compassion, and forgiveness. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son is a pivotal task facing everyone who wishes to grow deeper in faith and in their relationships with others.
Join us on Ash Wednesday, February 26th for greetings and introductions. Then beginning on Sunday, March 1st we’ll journey through the Lent season reading and sharing insights gleaned from this wonderful work of inspiration.
A reading schedule can be viewed by clicking on the Reading Schedule tab in the menu bar above. Facilitator Ray Glennon will prompt each week’s discussion by offering thoughtful questions and insights to get the discussion going.
The Lent online book discussion is a wonderful way to enrich and give focus to the Lenten season. We hope that you will join us!
Need a copy of the book? It is available at many bookstores, or you can order it online through the Bookstore tab in the menu bar above.