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The final session in the current series took place on 11 February when Revd Peter Sellick of CIGB helped us think about Fulfilling and Unfulfilling workplace roles.  Using art and scripture to introduce different ideas we were given questions to discuss in small groups.  Here is an extract of one part of the talk:

How can you glorify God more in your work?   Being honest, sharing faith, being thankful, remembering the ‘bigger picture’, seeing if my neighbour is being fulfilled.

Henri Nouwen – Reflections on Painting by Rembrandt: The Prodigal Son

Story of unfulfilled people – younger son, older son, father. Is reconciled by bringing people back into relationship, into togetherness. Rembrandt himself was spendthrift, got into debt; also jealous of other’s success – could see himself in the story? Nouwen also sees himself in the story – we all a sometimes like these characters

Nouwen suggests that in the end we need to become like the Father of Prodigal Son – who is wounded, almost blind in the painting. To be blessing, saying good things to others, despite what has happened. With experience and learning we pass through being the younger and elder sons… to become more like the Father. (To be like younger and elder son is not necessarily always wrong always –there is a time for going away and a time for demanding justice.. also Father in Luke’s story not blameless – why children behave as they did? Did he show favouritism?)

Younger Son – desire to go out and prove oneself… searching for unconditional love where it cannot be found?..Leaving home because you don’t think that home is where you are. Push yourself out to a foreign place, a disconnected place.  Don’t realise that you are Beloved as you are?

Son Elder – obedient (dressed like the Father) but complaining; there are things that havent been said, should have been said before. Comparing himself to others and has not had such an exciting time. He doesn’t come in – keeping distance.. we need to stop comparing with others (cf In the parable of the Labourers in Vineyard – why do the earlyworkers have to compare themselves with later ones…why not simply happy with what they have received (which is agreed days wage). Elder son not content with what he has

Father – God doesn’t compare; he loves us all equally as we are. John 14:2: there many rooms in my father’s house. Father and Sons are one.  God is Home for each of us. John 16:15 All that is mine is also my Fathers.

Father’s gift is to be able to say good things (Latinbenedicere – to bless, means to say good things) despite all that has happened. We need to learn to become like Father – to practise Trust and Gratitude. Saying Good Things. Trust that God wants me as I am. I am important enough. Recognisehow much is pure gift… this puts the issues of individual fulfillment/unfulfillment into perspective?

Exercise: Practising Gratitude and Trust – how?  Find time to do so; make time to do the things that feed you – then you can feed others.?

11 Feb 2013