In my time with God today I got into the 15th chapter of Luke. After reading the familiar story of the prodigal son (which is more aptly titled The Loving Father, as the story is all about the father and his response to the son), I was reminded of this picture by Rembrandt:The returning son, who has committed some terrible sins in Jewish tradition, is swooned over by his father, who is not worried about maintaining dignity in welcoming back his son. The father embraces his son with the fullest amount of compassion and love. The son's actions no longer matter; what matters is that the son has returned to his father--the relationship is restored. Henri Nouwen points out in his book on the painting that the father has two very different hands--his left is very masculine and the right is very feminine. God's embrace is strong, but also compassionate. It is powerful, yet tender.
This painting is by twin brothers Aaron and Allen Hicks; again, the father's love for the son is overwhelmingly beautiful:
It's difficult to get mired down by our own shortcomings when we are mindful that the Father always runs to us, never spurns us away. "How deep the Father's love for us . . ."