Flickering Mind by Jill Carattini

Jill makes a great illustration of one of my favorite pieces of art – Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son. I actually had the blessing of seeing it last year. Loved it, enjoyed this article in light of it.


Gallery statistics report that the average time a person spends looking at
a particular work of art is three seconds. To those who spend their lives
caring for the great art museums of the world, I imagine this is a
disheartening sight to behold day after day. It would have been
interesting to hear the thoughts of the St. Petersburg curators who
watched as Henri Nouwen sat before Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal
Son for more than four hours.

I wonder how often I am more like the three-second viewer than a
captivated Nouwen, moving through my days with my eyes barely open. How
often am I surrounded by the presence of God, but unaware and
unseeing-missing, in my absence, the bigger picture? One of my favorite
poems begins with the lines, “Lord, not you, it is I who am absent.”(1)

The parable of the prodigal son is typically understood as a story that
speaks to us when we have wandered away from God in belief or obedience.
It is a story we often apply to a specific time in our lives–a momentous
return to faith, a homecoming back to the church, a particular event that
caused us to remember God’s grace personally and powerfully. It is a
parable that at one time or another describes many of us. Perhaps it is
also a parable that describes us daily. In the daily struggle to
see, the constant battle to be present and conscious of the presence of
God in this place, we come and go like prodigals. …

Read the rest by clicking on the title.


  1. Carolanne says:

    I love the way you’ve set up your blog! It’s great reading too, even though I don’t drink coffee and live on the other side of the world.
    I tracked your blog through the Out of Ur one.
    Makes me want to restart my blogging all over again.
    Thanks for the read and enjoy your coffee. You should try a timtam with that!

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