A prodigal demands with clenched fists what was considered an outrageous violation in Palestinian culture of the first century; a request that speaks of dishonour and the separation of relationship.
Give me “now” of what is mine; a demand to live without restrictions, rebuffing the love of the one who waits.
Time turns and fortunes fail.
Squatting between the pens of pigs, amidst the stench, lips murmur prayer even as a deep wound bleeds within a soul, ragged and torn as the clothes upon his back.
As he looks towards the sky, fear enters his heart even as his feet turn towards home. Right from the beginning, from the first morning after the money was taken, the prodigal knew the cost.
Shards of broken clay to denounce his birth with their shattering sound. A breaking of all that was is what awaits him. Kezazah. (1) An outcast, no longer family.
Dirty rags cover a heart of shame as hunger gnaws both his heart and his soul. The sound of breaking clay echoes in his soul as their piercing shards cut and the masquerade is over. His heart turns towards the place he once called home.
In nakedness of soul this one waits to hear the sound of the jeering crowd as with faltering steps he stumbles and falls, crying out with a heart that splits and leaks with acidic pain, “Not worthy. Not a son. Make me a servant.”
Lifting downcast eyes he looks to see his father running ahead of the horde with their wagging tongues; their sticks and pots.
Extravagant love of a father who sacrifices honor and position for this one he calls “Beloved” and the crowd of community is silenced and the pot of disgrace, unbroken.
Something hallowed, a love gift that crowns a broken soul with worth. A robe to cover the shame, a ring to restore that which was lost and shoes for the feet of a child battered and bruised from sin. A kiss of grace bestows beauty amidst the dirt and grime.
Visible love and extravagant grace are seen in the story of a father’s love. A love, wild and free, that crowns a life with beauty and significance.
Luke 15: 20 – 24
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found." And they began to make merry.
A Love Gift
Yet wild and free
A love gift
The unlovable with beauty
And caresses of grace
Layers of the heart
With deepest intimacy
That leaves a soul
The masquerade is over
And the one, once wracked
Turns into Love
“His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend.” ~Song of Solomon 5:1
If a Jewish boy, in first-century Palestine, wastes his family inheritance among Gentiles and then dares to return home, the village performs what is called the kezazah ceremony. In this ceremony, the village breaks a large pot in front of the boy, symbolically portraying and officially proclaiming the separation between the boy and the village.
The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants by Dr. Kenneth E. Baile