Even for those who know the story well, the conclusion of the prodigal son’s sojourn can be surprising: “But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20).
Who wouldn’t want to be this father’s child? Who wouldn’t want to run into the open arms of this loving God? When I encounter passages like this, my heart swells as I think of my relationship with my dad. I can so easily see glimmers of God’s love there. It’s easy to forget that this isn’t the case for everyone.
While fatherhood language is central to Scripture’s witness, it’s far from exclusive. No one metaphor – not even that of Father – can fully encapsulate God. And that means that no one person, no one role, no one story, has a monopoly on God either.
This message is excerpted from “Multiple metaphors” by Hannah J. Hawkinson in the June 2020 Gather magazine.
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