Dare We Not Desire?
The older brother is the picture of the man who has lived his entire life from duty and obligation. When the wayward son returns from his shipwreck of desire, his brother is furious because he gets a party and not a trip behind the barn with the broadside of a paddle. He tells his father that he has been had; that all these years he hasn’t gotten a thing in return for his life of service. The father’s reply cuts to the chase: “All that is mine has always been yours.” In other words, “You never asked.”
Rembrandt captures all this powerfully in his now-famous painting The Return of the Prodigal Son. In this painting, the elder brother stands a step above the reunion of father and son. He will not step down, enter in. He is above it all. But who receives redemption? The scandalous message of the story is this: whose who kill desire – the legalists, the dutiful – are not the ones who experience the father’s embrace. The question is not, Dare we desire, but dare we not desire?
(an excerpt from, The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge)