Rembrandt and the Elder Son
The Elder Son Leaves
The Elder Son’s Return
Welcome! Before us is another week of rich exploration through which Henri takes us to a new understanding of ourselves as the Elder son, and leads us once again to lay our hearts before God.
1) Henri writes that both the younger son and the elder son needed healing and forgiveness and to return home to the father’s love. “…it is clear that the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home.” (p 66)
a) Have you ever been lost while at still home?
b) Now that we have read about both the Younger and the Elder son, do you agree with Henri that the the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home? Have you experienced this in your life?
2) “Complaining is self-perpetuating and counterproductive… Once the self-rejecting complaint has formed in us, we lose our spontaneity to the extent that even joy can no longer evoke joy in us… joy and resentment cannot coexist…” (p 68)
a) Henri links our complaining with the self-rejection. Have you experienced this?
b) How did you turn from self-rejecting resentment and complaining to acceptance of the Father’s love and the resulting joy?
3) Henri points us to the great hope of liberation from such resentments. He gives us the very important reminder that “I can only be healed from above” and that “Jesus is God’s way of making the impossible possible – of allowing light to conquer darkness” (p71, p82). He encourages us that we can prepare ourselves to be found and brought home through the disciplines of trust and gratitude.
a) In order to practice trust, how can you regularly remind yourself of the truth of God’s love for you. How can you claim it? (We also talked about this last week).
b) How do you understand the discipline of gratitude? Have you found a way to choose gratitude every day?
c) Henri reminds us of the Estonian proverb that says “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” You are invited to choose something in your life, and share your sense of gratitude today.
4) Henri touches on his relationship with his father. He recognizes he was looking to his earthly father for a kind of love that could not be found through an earthly relationship.
a) Do you have such a relationship in your life? How might you take a step towards releasing that expectation, and instead opening yourself to a true dependence on the divine Father who says “You are always with me, and all I have is yours” (p78).
b) How might this free you to give and receive love?
As always, there is so much to be explore in this text. We very much look forward to hearing from you about whatever comes up for you as you read and reflect.
Ray and Brynn