Tag Archives: Parable

Dressed For The Occasion

The Wedding Banquet.

14th Century Russian icon of the ‘Parable of the Feast.

Jesus tells the parable of a king who gives a wedding banquet for his son, but no one comes. Some of the invited even murder the king’s messengers bearing the invitations. For which the king extracts retribution.

Since the invited rich and noble did not come to the wedding, the king instructs his servants to go out and bring in people from the streets. In no time at all the wedding hall was filled with guests of all kinds of people.

When the king comes to the hall in which the wedding guests are assembled, he spies a man not dressed in smart, wedding clothes. The king asks the man how he got in, dressed as he was. Then the king had the man bound and thrown outside.

The parable is the invitation of Jesus to the feast and the inappropriately dressed man represents someone who rejects the invitation, but the parable might easily be interpreted differently.

All the guests at the wedding banquet had been drawn in off the streets. The suggestion being that they were taken directly to the banquet and might not have had time to change into their fine clothes, appropriate to a wedding. There is also the possibility that the poorly dressed man was poor and might have been wearing what were his best cloths, or maybe even his only clothing.

It is possible to conclude that the poorly dressed man was quite unfairly treated. While this is not the usual interpretation of the parable, the text is not sufficiently detailed or clear to dismiss this possible interpretation out of hand.

As usual, I am not seeking to overturn established wisdom, just give some food for thought.

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Weeding

Watch out for the crops.

In Matthew 13: 24-30 Jesus tells The Parable of the Weeds, which he then explains in verses 36-43.

The owner of a field has sown a field of wheat and and “enemy” has sown seeds of weed in the field of the wheat crop. “Enemy” is I think perhaps too strong a term. I suggest that business rival, or competitor might be nearer to a correct description.

What is not explicitly stated in the passage in the NIV UK Bible, is that the particular weed sown amongst the good wheat was Darnel, which may also be called Tare. This particular weed looks similar to wheat until it is fully grown. So similar that in some places it is called false wheat.

Darnel is mildly poisonous. It is highly unlikely to kill you if you consume it, but you will feel ill for quite a while.

From the rival farmer’s perspective, that sowed the bad seed, the benefit continues after the season in which the good farmer’s crop is blighted. If the good farmer’s crop mildly poisons someone because of the Darnel, people will be more wary of purchasing from that farmer for a number of years.

When the farmer’s workers discover that the weed Darnel has been sewn with the crop, they ask if they should pull it out. The farmer says no, it is too young to be able to separate it from the good plants. They must wait until it is fully grown to separate the good from the bad.

Jesus explains to his disciples that at the end of the age, when the weeds and crop have grown together, it is possible to separate the good from the bad, the good people from the bad. The bad crop or weeds to be burned.

While not explicitly stated, it seems to me that there is a secondary lesson in that parable. It is found in the action of the farmer letting the crop and weed grow together. By acting too soon the farmer would lose much more of the crop than by waiting, letting the weeds grow amongst it. Patience was needed to know which to keep and which to discard.

God has infinate patience, unlike humankind, who want everything now.

As a minor point of interest to end, I do not think that parable could be applied today, because of the mechanised farming methods. Farm machinery could not, as far as I know, separate the wheat from the darnel.

Faith Without Thinking

But not unthinking faith.

Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant. 1893

I’ve been nominally a Christian since I was baptised as a baby. It’s in recent years that I’ve taken it seriously, trying to live by Christian principals. I’ve not done anything criminal or deliberately hurt anyone, nevertheless I’m probably not what you might call a good Christian.

I go to church each Sunday. I meet with Christian friends and discuss what being a Christian means. I read the Bible, sometimes. That might be part of what makes me Christian but not necessarily a good one.

Often on weekdays and when I’m not with my Christian friends, I am not thinking about behaving as a Christian. Of course it shouldn’t be necessary to be thinking about it all the time. Which is the point I probably need to explain a little more.

This post was inspired by a paragraph from a book, Unveiling A Parallel (To be reviewed later on Entertaining Angels Bookshelf). The passage is:

“Do you often hear an upright man professing his honesty? It is part of himself. He is so free of the law which enjoins honesty that he never gives it a thought. So with the man who is truly religious and no longer needs to guide himself bit by bit and rein, or measure his conduct by the written code.”
– From Unveiling a Parallel by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant 1893.

The book is fiction. We can still learn something from it, just as we learn from Jesus’ parables which were fiction but contained a truth.

The person referred to in the quoted passage never thinks about his religion which, in the book, we are not told what it is. The point is that he doesn’t need to think about it. Its principals are so deeply ingrained within him, that he doesn’t need to think about them to live by them. It is, or has become, his natural way of living, of conducting himself.

As Christians, shouldn’t we be aiming to live by Jesus’ teaching, to the extent we do not need to constantly think about it?  I’m not suggesting we should not think about or discuss The Bible and God and Jesus, just that living by its principals ought to become second nature to us, or that we should aim that it does.

Part Timers

A brief look at the parable of the vineyard workers, Mat. 20: 1-16.

Painting of the parable, by Jacob Willemszoon de Wet, mid 17th century.

When Jesus told the parable of the vineyard owner hiring workers, did he know he was drawing unexpected parallels with the modern world?

Each of the men the owner hired was paid one denarius for the day, no matter the time of day he was hired. This, of course, seemed unfair to the workers employed from early in the morning and had worked longer for the same pay as those hired later in the day.

The point of the parable isn’t just about fairness to the men hired, but also about the owner having the right to choose how he spent his money. He was not being hard on the employees who worked long hours. He was being generous to those who he employed later.

The parable is an allusion to God and the world, where everyone will be given the same riches of God’s grace, no matter when they come to Christ. It is also an illustration of another of Jesus’ teaching of the last being first. Although for some workers it looked unfair, it was not. Fairness need not be measured by comparison to another, but by what is contracted for.

God does not contract with us; we have a covenant, based on trust, with Him which He has never broken; we have, many times

Untalented

Another perspective on the parable of the talents.

The Parable of the Talents” (1906), artist unknown.

In the parable of the talents told by Jesus, related to us by Matthew (Matthew 25: 14 – 29 NIV)the master entrusted some of his wealth into his servants’ stewardship whilst he went away and he did so ”each according to his ability” (Matthew 25: 15 NIV). I assume he considered them all to be honest.

On this basis, he gave each of three servants a different sum of gold (Talents). The amounts are relatively unimportant the point being in the difference of amount he gave to each, the third servant receiving the lowest sum, only 1 Talent.

It is worth noting that a Talent would equate to about 20 years worth of a day labourers wage at that time, so even a single talent entrusted to the steward of the gold, like the third servant, comprised considerable wealth.

I assume, although we are not told, that the servants in the parable were the only three in the master’s service, so there were no others whom he might have judged unfit to receive any Talents, because he doubted their honesty or ability.

When the master returned from his travels, two of his servants each presented him with a healthy profit on the money he had left with them, having doubled their amount. It is perhaps worth note that the two who increased the sum given to them, both doubled or added 100% to what they were entrusted with. On this basis it is reasonable to assume they were both equally astute in their investments and I suggest that if their proportion of the master’s wealth been split equally between them, they would have returned equal amounts to their master on his return.

The third servant returned only what had been left in his care to begin with, for which the master called him “wicked” and “lazy”. Was this really fair to that servant? There is no suggestion that this servant was in anyway disloyal.

If we consider for a moment how this might be today, by drawing an analogy with The Apprentice television program as was suggested during a sermon I heard recently, then the third ‘candidate’ would indeed have been dismissed. I do not though consider this to be a good comparison. In the case of The Apprentice, the selection criteria were based on what was perceived to be required of a new employee, whereas in the parable they were all existing employees for which the master should already have had a good assessment of their abilities.

We have already noted that the master had given to each servant a sum of gold “according to his ability” and the master himself had been the judge of that ability. Since there is no suggestion of dishonesty by any servant, whilst the master might have been disappointed in the third servant’s stewardship, was he right to treat him so poorly on his return? Could the master’s reaction have been using that servant as a scapegoat, to hide his own poor judgement? Each according to his abilities, remember and it was the master who assessed those abilities. 

And what of the master’s own honesty, since we are told that he harvests where he has not sown and gathers where he has not scattered seed. Might this not be thought by some to imply that he was not adverse to stealing bits of a neighbours’ crops to boost his own?

The third servant may not have been wise, might well have been lazy but there is nothing but his master’s word to suggest he was wicked and he was evidently not dishonest. There are plenty of people around today whose idea of stewardship of wealth, is to hide it under the mattress.

I have also heard it suggested that in the parable, the man who went away was meant to be Jesus himself, who was telling the parable. His return therefore might have been a prophecy of his second coming. I also do not agree with that suggestion because if it had been Jesus, wouldn’t he have forgiven the third servant? 

However since it is a parable and can’t be taken literally there is yet another way we might think of it. Jesus could be telling us that we should invest in the future. Unfortunately, too many of us behave like the servant entrusted with only one Talent; we’re too worried about protecting what is, keeping the status quo, than investing for the future and I’m not just referring to money.

 

Oe Ngati Kame

Look around you, what do you see? Who do you see?

If you saw the  2009 movie Avatar (is it really that old already), maybe you remember the words in the title of this post. In translation it means ‘I see you’.

For the Omaticaya people, a tribe of the Na’vi of the planet Pandora, to ‘see’ a person wasn’t literal or in the physical sense. It had a deeper meaning, more akin to ‘I know you’, or ‘I understand you’. Its meaning was so much more than just seeing someone with their eyes.

Look at a tree and what do you notice. Do you see this bit of wood with branches sprouting in all directions, covered in green leaves? Or can you see this wondrous living thing, taking food and water through it’s roots, sunlight through it’s leaves. A life within, a process we call photosynthesis, making oxygen for us to breathe and it is a home and haven for all sorts of other life. Do you remember its roots, unless you happen to trip over one. Perhaps it is a species that bears edible fruit, like apples or oranges that you and I eat.

Now look at a brick. It’s a lump of stone, sand, cement (guessing a bit, I’m not really sure what’s in one). Look at it again using the eyes you now see the tree with. Was it made new, or recycled? Who made it, where was it made and how many people were involved, from collecting the raw materials, measuring the amounts, operating the machines, packing for delivery and delivering the finished item. Who might have laid that brick into the wall of a dwelling for someone to live in.

Jesus used lots of ways to get people to ‘see’ or understand things. In Mark 2: 16-17 he used the metaphor of a doctor treating a patient;

  • …the Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…

Jesus’ most notable illustrations were almost certainly His parables, using stories to illustrate a point, instead of trying to explain it. In Paul’s epistles, he asks the recipients if they ‘see’ what he means or he uses metaphor and allusion in a similar way, as do some of the other apostles in their letters:

  • I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it… 1 Cor. 3: 2
  • Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind… Eph. 4: 14
  • For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. James 1:11.

Sometimes you will be able to get the deeper meaning of books and passages in other ways too. It’s often worth considering who was the author of a particular section. Who were they writing for and what was their point of view. Why did they write in a particular style. Luke’s gospel, for example, focussed on Jesus’ humanity and appears to have aimed for a historical account.

Luke was not a Jew, so his perspective would have been different to the others’ whereas the author of Matthew’s gospel almost certainly was a Jew, exceptionally familiar with the Jewish law but considering his position between the traditional Jewish values and the non-traditional arising from Jesus’ ministry. Now take another look into your Bible and ‘see’ what’s really there, don’t just read the words but ‘SEE’ the meaning behind them, the beauty and truth. ?

The Lost Son

A 21st century retelling of a 1st century story
(sometimes known as the parable of the prodigal son).

The Return Of The Prodigal Son,  ESTEBAN MURILLO. 1670-74.

The Return Of The Prodigal Son,
ESTEBAN MURILLO. 1670-74.

Johnathon Tiptree was the owner of a small, successful business, that now had a handful of employees, which he had started and built up over the years from nothing. Tiptree’s Garden Centre and Nursery had not made him a rich man but he and his family lived comfortably, in their own home. He had been successful enough that although he did not have much money saved or spare capital in the business, neither did he have any debts against the business and he had paid off the mortgage on their home three years ago.

Johnathon Tiptree was the owner of a small, successful business, that now had a handful of employees, which he had started and built up over the years from nothing. Tiptree’s Garden Centre and Nursery had not made him a rich man but he and his family lived comfortably, in their own home. He had been successful enough that although he did not have much money saved or spare capital in the business, neither did he have any debts against the business and he had paid off the mortgage on their home three years ago.

A year ago, he had been so proud when his eldest son, Malcolm, that was called Mal bye everyone, had joined him in the business which he had then renamed Tiptree & Son Garden Centre. He was hoping, but not with great confidence, that his younger son, Jason, would also join the business in due course, when he would again rename the business to Tiptree and Sons.

It was summer time, the middle of the school summer holidays, a good time of year for the gardening business, Jason was unsteadily making his way home from the White Hart pub, with an envelop he had collected earlier from his sixth form college folded over and stuffed carelessly into his back pocket. it was his ‘A’ level exam results which he had scraped through, just, by the slimmest of margins.

He knew though that, with his poor grades, he was not going to get into Salthouse Business School, the university he had most wanted. He was now going to have to apply through the common application system and hope that something suitable was left for him after all the best places had been taken up, by the students with the good exam grades.

Jason had spent a good few hours of his last term in the college’s computer room, looking up on the internet university prospectuses, trying to find a course for himself for the next three years. His main effort was concentrated on finding a soft option, that he thought would not tax him overly much might be a bit of fun and had a chance of a good social side. He had finally settled on Tourism and Leisure for his first choice, or Media studies. Now, though, his most immediate concern wasn’t that he’d missed his choice of a place but that he might be stuck with some subject where he might have to actually do some work.

By the time Jason got home, his dad and brother were already back from the garden centre, probably to wait for him to hear his exam results. He didn’t bother to stop and tell them, just went straight up to his room shutting the door behind himself. He knew this behavior would not be thought odd; he didn’t get along well with his dad for much of the time and only talked to him when it was necessary or unavoidable. This time, he knew, he was just putting off the inevitable moment when he would have to reveal his poor exam performance. Jason’s older brother Mal, had left college two years earlier, with had got good ‘A’ level grades that would have almost given him his pick of university but he had chosen instead to join their dad in the business,

When Jason finally went downstairs to join his dad and brother for their evening meal, his Mother having died some years ago, as he expected the first thing his Dad asked was ”Well, are you going to tell us your exam results?” Even then, Jason stalled for a while longer, saying he had passed all his exams which, technically at least, was true but it took further prodding and questioning by his father to reveal that of the four subjects he had taken, only in Film Studies had he managed to scrape anything better than ‘C’ grades.

Wisely for a change, and somewhat to his own surprise, Jason did not try to justify his poor performance or argue with his Father. He let his Dad vent his anger and disappointment, before going back to his room, taking a drink with himself but not having eaten his meal. Again showing a bit more sense than was usual for him, he did not try to talk to his dad again about it until the next morning, after they had both had some time to cool down.

Mal had already gone to work by the time Jason came down for breakfast, and found his Father waiting for him. His dad’s first words came as possibly the one of biggest surprises of his life. His Father asked simply “what do you want to do?”. Jason poured himself a cup of tea before answering and then, sitting down at the table opposite his father, said he would like to try for university. He knew that his dad had hoped he would join the business and that this would be a disappointment to him.

After giving his dad a few moments to get over the disappointment, he went on to explain that he would have to go through the common application process, and that his choices would be limited. He told his Father everything, except for the fact that he was now planning to try for a place at a university in America.

He could not believe how calmly his dad took it all. He had been told to put in his application, check on the costs and confirm how much he would get for a student loan, then to go back and talk to his dad again if, or when he had been offered a place.

He was lucky; even with his poor results, he was offered courses at two universities, although he was not going to tell his dad this. Johnathon Tiptree was only going to know about the Digital Art course at Risborough, in Idaho, which he guessed would be the easier course. And, he had all his costs worked out too. Jason told his dad he could borrow £15,500.00 annually in student loans which would pay about two thirds of his tuition fees each year but, because of his dad’s income from the business, he would not get a maintenance grant for his living expenses, which he had estimated would be about a further £5000.00 in each year of the course, if he stayed in student accommodation. In addition, he would need an additional £2000.00 each year to cover his travel costs.

It was only when Jason said how much the travel as going to cost that his dad questioned any of the sums of money involved, so that was when it was finally explained that Risborough Uni. was in Idaho. The transport costs he estimated would cover three or four return, economy flights home each year, which he actually had no intention of doing once he got out to America on the cheapest single ticket he could get.

Johnathon Tiptree arranged for his son to get all the travel money and a further £2000.00 before he left, to cover his initial expenses on arrival at the uni. and he assured Jason that if he couldn’t get the rest before the day Jason travelled, he would send it over by international money transfer. On the day before Jason was due to fly out, his Dad gave him a further cheque for £3,000.00 and said that the rest would be transferred to Jason’s new US bank account before the first term started.

With the money Jason had already been given, and had already exchanged for US dollars, by the time he got on the plane to America, he had $10,000.00 in his pocket, enough to cover all his first years expenses with the remainder to be paid to the university directly by the student loan company.

On arriving in America, Jason stayed a night in New York and took an internal flight the next day, finally arriving at the university by taxi from the airport. After he booked in and dropped his luggage in his room on the campus, the next thing he did was find a phone and call his father, and said that the student loan had not been paid to the university. Jason had not told his dad that student loans were only given to students studying in Britain. Nevertheless using that pretext, Jason lied to his dad and asked if he could borrow the extra money he needed for the tuition fees “just until the student loan came through”. Johnathon Tiptree was not happy about it but eventually agreed.

It took Jason’s father a couple of days to arrange the additional funds and get every sent over by international money transfer. Jason already had most of the easily accessible family savings, so to cover what his son had told him would be the student loan amount, Johnathon Tiptree had had to take out a bank loan. Because he had to arrange the loan quickly, the bank had set a high interest rate but, as it was a short term loan until the student loan came through, he accepted the bank’s terms.

Once Jason’s dad had made all the arrangements and got the all money transferred to Jason’s American account, ostensibly to pay the university Jason had had over £30,000.00 of the family’s money.

After transferring the money to his son, Johnathon Tiptree heard nothing for over a month. When he eventually did get a telephone call, it was not from his son but about him. At the time the first payment on the bank loan was due, when Jason’s dad had intended to fully repay the bank loan using the student loan that should by then have been issued, he got a phone call from his son’s university. Jason’s tuition fees had not been paid. They said that payment was required within seven days, or Jason would be asked to leave.

Jason’s dad had no option but to make the first payment on the bank loan, which he thought would be repaid within the month. He then spent a lot of time, and money the next week trying to phone his son.

Jason, it later transpired, had stayed at the university just long enough to use it as a mailing address, until he received all the money. The next day he had walked out of uni. flown up to Las Vegas, checked into a hotel and within a day of leaving Idaho was at a poker tablein one of the casinos at which, for the first few days, he actually made a small profit. At the end of the first week he had more than doubled his money but instead of walking away with a profit, he kept on playing and luck, eventually, always runs out.

By the end of another month, having got overconfident on a couple of big bets, Jason was down to just $5000.00, or just over £3000.00. What he hadn’t gambled, he had drunk or spent entertaining women, or buying their services and the next day he left the hotel without paying his bill, moving to a cheaper place on the edge of town.

Back home, the autumn and winter are always a slack time of year for garden centres and Tiptrees was no exception. His father having had trouble making the repayments on the loan from the bank, had been forced to take on a partner in the business, in exchange for enough money to clear the debt. Tiptrees Garden Centre was no longer just a family business.

Soon after moving into the cheaper hotel, Jason had met Chas and Chas had introduced him to some of his other ‘friends’. These were gamblers and but not like those in the big casinos, most of which Jason was now barred from. These gamblers were dishonest and were still some of the less dubious characters that he met through Chas. On a combination of cards, drink and drugs they fleeced Jason of his remaining money within a few days, very quickly loosing interest in him once they found out he was broke.

Jason moved again to a cheaper hotel still where rooms could also be rented by the hour, getting a small, filthy back room and use of an unsanitary, communal bathroom. He managed to persuade the hotel’s owner to give him odd jobs cleaning, mainly cleaning, for which he got the room rent free but no money. He was hungry most of the time as the occasional, irregular work he could get, on top of his hours at the hotel, paid only a pittance so he could barely afford to eat and had a couple of times been reduced to scavenging for scraps or petty crime to get money to buy food.

Eventually when he could stand it no longer so, swallowing his pride and scraping together some change, he phoned his father. After the inevitable how are you, where have you been, having not heard from his son in months, came the question Jason had been dreading; why have you called now, what do you want?

Jason did not know about his father having sold part of the business, to get him the money he had frittered and gambled away and so as he himself had only just enough for the phone call, he came straight to the point and asked for enough money for his air fare home. Johnathon Tiptree refused point blank to send his son any more money but, he would make arrangements for the flight and send a ticket; non refundable and non transferable.

Five days later Jason arrived at the airport, with nothing but the clothes he stood up in and his passport. The airport security guards were suspicious of such a disreputable looking young man, and would not let him enter without sending a guard with him to the ticket desk until they could verify he did have a ticket to travel. Jason felt humiliated, being marched through the airport by a guard, convinced that everyone was looking at him and laughing. It was not any better at the security gate before the plane, where he was searched before being allowed to board.

On the plane, he was seated right at the back beside the galley and the toilet. He guessed that this must be so that the cabin crew could keep an eye on him, and seat him near the fewest number of unlucky passengers possible.

Even when his plane landed back in England and he was relieved that he would soon rejoin his family, his humiliation was not complete. The final, degrading indignity came when customs offices insisted on detaining him, to strip search him. He suspected that they had been informed in advance of his arrival by the American authorities, because they didn’t just draw him discretely to one side at the customs hall. They were waiting for him at the top of the jetway off of the plane and two of them escorted him through immigration and into the customs secure area. He had anticipated being stopped and searched but not like this.

Even after the strip search, he was not allowed to leave. He was detained for a further 24 hours, in case anything he might have been smuggling internally needed the time to pass through and be expelled.

Finally, more than 40 hours after his journey home had begun, he was allowed to leave HM Customs hall. As he walked through the sliding, automatic doors into the throng of people waiting to meet friends and relatives arriving, he saw his dad almost immediately.

Johnathon Tiptree looked tired and dishevelled but not disreputable, like Jason. He had been waiting for his youngest son from the moment the flight had been due to land and he looked weary. When he spotted his son though, his eyes brightened and some of the tiredness seemed to fall away as he ran up to his son, grabbed him and hugged him tightly for what seemed to Jason like ages. Jason just stood there, eyes closed, numb and ashamed. Eventually he raised his arms and returned his father’s embrace, holding on tightly less his legs buckled under him. When they released each other both men had tears in their eyes.

As the two of them turned to leave the airport, walking out to the car park, Jason finally managed to say a few words. They were not the words he’d rehearsed in his head a hundred times, on the flight back to the UK. They just tumbled out of his mouth “Dad I’m sorry. I’ve done all sorts of illegal and wrong things and immoral things, to you and to others and under heaven, you must think I’m evil. I don’t deserve to have a father like you.” As they reached the car, his father unlocked it and opened the door to get in but just before he did, he looked across the roof of the car and said “You’re my son and I love you. You’re annoying, headstrong and irresponsible but you’re my son and you’re home again. I just hope you’ve learnt your lesson”.

They sat in silence in the car on the drive home. When they drew up outside the house, Jason’s dad looked across at his son and said, “Come on, back where you belong.”. When they got inside, Jason’s father sent him for a bath. When Jason opened his mouth to protest, he was told “You need it. And put some clean clothes on before you come down”.

Once his son was out of the way Johnathon Tiptree was quickly on the phone to friends and staff from the garden centre, telling them he had arrived home and to come straight round with the things he had asked them to prepare before he had left for the airport to collect his son.. By the time Jason had had a long soak in the bath, having gone to sleep until the water was nearly cold, and then dressed again, everything was ready downstairs.

When he came down and walked into the living room, a shout went up of Welcome Home Jason and his eyes lit upon the table covered in food and drink and then, looking around he saw all the friends, invited to celebrate his return. A few people shouted for a speech but he just thanked them all and said to help themselves and enjoy the party.

When Mal arrived home later, after closing up the garden centre, he could hear the music and laughter in the house from out in the street, so he asked one of the guests, who was just leaving, what was going on. He was informed that their dad had thrown a party to celebrate Jason’s homecoming.

Mal knew of course that his little brother was due back today but he hadn’t known about the party. As he stood outside his home, refusing to go in, his mood got blacker by the minute and his anger rose and the knuckles of his balled fists whitened. He turned and walked stiffly away, striding purposefully along the path. Just before he was out of sight of the house, he threw a burning glance back over his shoulder and as he did so, he saw his father rush out of the front door, wave and call after him; his dad must have seen him through the window before he had turned to go. Mal stopped but made no move to go back, instead waiting for his father to catch up with him.

“Why are you going”, he asked his son. “To the pub”, retorted Mal sharply “I said why, not where?” his father asked again. Then Mal vented his frustration, shouting at his dad about all the time he had given to him and all the effort he had put into the business, only to see half of it sold off. He ranted on for several minutes, about how his feckless little brother gets a party just for coming home, after it was his fault that half the business had had to be sold.

“You don’t get it, do you son” Johnathon Tiptree sais to his oldest boy. “Everything we have will be yours”. “I had two sons and I lost one but now he has returned; my family is complete again, that’s something worth celebrating.” Maybe you’ll understand one day, when you’re a father too”.

Original parable, Luke 15:11 — 32