The Lament of the Forgotten Son

Margaret Adams Parker, Reconciliation: Sculpture of the Parable of the Prodigal Son for Duke Divinity School (2005) View 1

Margaret Adams Parker, Reconciliation: Sculpture of the Parable of the Prodigal Son for Duke Divinity School (2005) View 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You stand out on the crossroads looking for the prodigal
Waiting for the return of the one who cashed in his heritage
Who took what we worked so long to build and walked away
He wished for your death and plundered your house
And yet day after day you wait for his return, this lost son
Like some wandering sheep you set out in search of him
Like some lost coin you search every corner to find again
And so, you stand out at the crossroads today and every day
While I rise up in your stead, tending the flock, sowing the seed
Working to ensure that for all of us there will be a harvest
You pine for your lost son, I grieve for my lost father

This son of yours, this spoiled younger brother of mine
Unwilling to dirty his hands among the fields or to care for the home
Who shirked the yoke that I bore for you countless seasons
There were always excuses that were made on his behalf
I thought that his last request might finally cross a line
That this final insult, this slap in the face might raise your ire
Is there nothing he could do, no request he might make
That might cause you to put your foot down and say, ‘no more’
How could you let him take away the work of our hands
Going off to a distant land with the wealth of generations
This son of yours, this spoiled younger brother of mine

The days you spent on the crossroads looking for the prodigal
Are the days you never once looked at me managing the house
Sweating with the servants in the field to sow and reap a harvest for you
Holding everything together while you stayed lost in your grief
Did your eyes never fall upon me as I shepherded your flock?
Was a word of praise ever uttered from your lips for my longstanding obedience?
Did your desire to see what was lost blind you to what remains?
The absent son who erased the son with calloused hands and burnt skin
Who stayed and never strayed from the homestead
And who is still waiting here for you to join him as he works in the vineyard

Then, one day, as I exit the fields at the end of a weary day
I hear merriment as the town eats our food and drinks our wine
The fatted calf has been slaughtered for the prodigals return
And while the entire town was invited to the celebration
You never considered coming to the fields to retrieve me?
It is only from a slave that I learn that my brother has returned
And my father as well, back from the crossroads and the ends of the earth
You rejoice with the town while my soul bleed outside the home I sustained
What must I do to be seen, heard, loved and welcomed?
Must I also become the prodigal for you to celebrate me?
Must I deny you so that you might accept me?

How long before you realize that there is a son missing from your feast?
Before you make the journey into the fields you abandoned for the crossroads?
Until you see the son who didn’t squander your wealth with prostitutes
He feasted away your fortune and you throw him a feast of rich foods
I worked your fields, maintained your table, fed your flocks
Yet, not even a goat was to be spared for me and my friends
Welcome home father, I hope you appreciate the pantry I stocked
Welcome home brother, I hope you enjoyed the calf I raised
Hear this lament of the forgotten son who awaited your return
To the family you both turned your backs upon

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This entry was posted in Biblical Reflections, Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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