By Margaret Brown
An in-depth study of the history of the Prodigal Son attended by members of St. Vincent’s Church in Luz during Lent, over the course of five weeks, opened hearts and minds to receive what was to come during Holy Week.
This younger son of a rich Jewish estate owner demanded early access to what he would inherit on his Father’s death. Travelling far away, rich and fancy free, he squandered his inheritance on wild living.
When all was gone, he was reduced to working as a swineherd. Hungry, wishing he could eat the food of these ‘unclean’ beasts, as a last resort he went home. Filthy and ashamed, on his return he was welcomed with unconditional love and joy by his Father.
From Palm Sunday to Easter Day, the Church at Luz followed the ultimate week in Christ’s life. His cleansing of the Temple which had become no better than a market place, the days of teaching people about the Kingdom of God through parables, to the Last Supper when he told his disciples of his imminent death.
It was during this meal that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet so they might know to serve others rather than expect to be served. After which, handing each disciple a piece of bread and some wine as a symbol of his body and blood to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind upon the Cross, he provided the most important principle for living a Christian life – which is to serve rather than be served.
Today this is celebrated as Maundy Thursday, a service held in Churches during which members of the congregation present their feet to be washed by the Priest and his assistants.
In Luz on Good Friday, we remembered the agony of Christ’s crucifixion through a series of New Testament readings spoken by members of the congregation, and listened to the Choir as they sang parts of A Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, and other relevant liturgical extracts.
And then it was Easter Day, the resurrection of Jesus three days after he died upon the cross and a joyful occasion wherever Christians gather. In Luz Church, every seat was filled.
Back to the parable of the Prodigal Son, who left his Father to spend his inheritance without a thought for tomorrow and returned only when he was destitute, perhaps there is a similarity to the present century and people’s apparent return to the support and comfort of the Christian faith…