The loving father welcomes
his lost son
From A Painting
The Prodigal Returns
By James E. McEldowney
Hining and Camping In The Himalayas Stories - Table of Contents Betty Ann and I Go To A Hindu Festival

Would you like to make your own video? When I was in India we did not have videos but we had motion pictures or films. So when I wanted to tell a story I often made a film. Times have changed and I would probably not make a film today but I would make a video. Making either a film or a video can be fun and a lot of hard work. Some of my films showed how people lived and what they did. But I made some to tell a story. I would like to tell you one of the stories I made into a film.

The story is taken from the Bible (St. Luke 15:11-24). It is the story of a boy who got tired of living at home and thought it would be great sport to go as far away as he could. He had a bigger brother who always wanted to tell him what to do. He thought that if he could only get away from that brother he might have a good time. Because his father was a very kind man he thought his father might listen to him and help him get away.

One day he was fed up enough to go to his father and say, "Father, some day you are going to give me part of the money you have. Why not give it to me now and I will go away and not be a bother to you anymore." His father refused him at first because he was afraid the boy was not wise enough to use the money well, but finally he said, "All right, here is your share of what I have."

Now the boy thought "I've got what I want. Now I will get away from here and will I ever have fun!" He left home and went into a far country. At first he had plenty to eat and drink and he had a good time. He made new friends because he had plenty of money to spend. Then he got in with the wrong crowd and before long all his money was gone. He didn't even have enough to buy food. His new friends all left him. He got hungrier and hungrier. At last he tried to find work. The only work he could find was to feed pigs for a farmer. That didn't pay him enough and he was always hungry. Finally he began to eat some of the food the farmer gave for the pigs. When the farmer saw that, he was angry and knocked the boy down. "Get out," he shouted.

While the boy was still lying on the ground, a bit bruised, he began to think of his home. His father was really a kind and good man. He even treated his servants better than the farmer treated (++Page 82) him. He also remembered that his father really didn't want him to leave home. So he said to himself, "I will get up and go back to my father and say I am sorry for what I have done. I though I knew better than you did. I was young and more foolish than I thought. Please let me come home." He wiped away a tear and continued, I'll say, "I am not good enough to be your son again. Just make me one of your servants." As he got up he thought, at least I will have enough to eat.

He took a step toward home. It hurt a bit. It wasn't easy for him to head for home. He had boasted he was grown up and was able to care for himself. Perhaps his father had been right, he was not as grown up as he thought. Each step seemed easier. Before long he was almost running. He was going home.

Imagine his surprise when he came near home. His father had missed him. Often he had gone to the gateway in front of his house and looked down the road, hoping his son would come back. Then one day as he was standing there he saw someone coming. Could it be his son? He couldn't see very well but at last he recognized him and shouted for joy. Though he was old he almost ran down the road to meet him.

You might expect that his father would scold and whip him. No, his face was full of smiles for he loved his son. He called his neighbors and said, "My son was dead but see, he is alive. Come let us celebrate." But the son said, "You should not call me your son. I did not listen to you and I got myself into trouble. Make me a hired servant and I will be content." But the father, out of his great love for him, put his arms around him and said, "No, you are my son. Welcome home!"

This story was told by the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus. He told it because he wanted boys and girls and grown people to know that it is very easy for a person to do foolish things and do wrong. And if we do such things, of course we expect to be punished. But this kind of a father is a person who, when his son comes to himself and wants to start over, the father is eager to give him another chance.

In telling this story, Jesus was telling us what God is like. God, our heavenly Father, is much like this boy's father. If we do wrong we deserve to be punished. But because our heavenly Father loves us he gives us another chance - a chance to do what is right. Even while we are doing wrong, God is hoping we will do what is right. We must always remember that.

Now I did make a film of that story. It is a real job to make a film. You have to study hard to learn how to do it. Then you have to choose the right people to act out the story. They have to be dressed just right so you must choose their clothes. Then you have to find the proper location or place that will tell the story. (++Page 83) Also learning how to use the camera properly is not easy. After all that is ready you must train people so they will say the right things and have the proper look on their faces. They have to act so well that the story comes alive. Then after the camera work is done you have to put the bits of film together to tell the story just right. Did you know there is so much work in making a video or film? You might try to make a video of some story you have read. You will find it fun but it takes lots of work.

Whether you make a video or not just think how that boy was foolish at one time and how he was welcomed home later. All of us make mistakes. I have learned so much from this story. It has helped me throughout my life and I hope it will help you too. [by James E. McEldowney, August1997]

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