The Elder So
“Now the elder son was out in the fields and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing,”
The reunion is complicated, the father moves to embrace his younger son and the elder son looks
on. One could say that he was the main observer. He looks at his
father not with joy, nor does he embrace his younger brother, he wants to have
nothing to do with the return of his young brother.
The elder son keeps his distant; he is not going to be involved in this
mess. In the portrait by Rembrandt the elder son keeps his hands to himself and has a long face. Which could be
interpreted as saying? “I told you so…” In the portrait the father runs to embrace his son whilst the elder son
stands and is divorced from the whole exercise. He is cold towards his young brother.
Of course who can blame him? It was the young son that began this debacle of
demanding his inheritance. The elder son had stayed and had been a dutiful son and now because of this
commitment to the family and his father he is being constricted.
His probably sees his sense of duty as a jail sentence for this has held
him back. Often we can be jealous of new converts to the faith. For these bring a new perspective, a different
direction, it is like opening a window and getting the breath of fresh air. We have the attitude which says who is
he to tell us how to pray; after all we have been Christians much longer than he
has been. Our anger, envy and jealous show us that we are indeed in bondage we
are slaves and we are not free. Often when we judgmental, full of condemnation, anger, resentment,
bitterness we are behaving like the elder son. As much as the young son was lost we
too are lost when we store up feelings of destruction, we too are in the distant
country, as much as we have stayed at home. The Achilles heel for the elder son
was that in the public eye he was blameless, a model son, and one every father
wants his daughter to marry. Unfortunately inside he was bitter and angry, and often we do not see
these things. These are the cancers that destroy our lives inwardly and keep us firmly in the distant country. In the church among those called the righteous are people held in bondage by resentment, prejudice and an unforgiving
spirit. These prevent us from being free, spontaneous and open to the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ