Debbie, our ordinand, now knows where she’s going to go to serve her curacy, and she and I had a meeting to catch up last week. She told me how she’d help to facilitate a meditation session with a group from Al-Anon, the network supporting people who care for those with alcohol problems, working with a secular facilitator. Obviously this wasn’t about religion in any way, but Debbie suggested they retell the story of the Prodigal Son using an all-female ‘cast’ to think about issues of betrayal and forgiveness. They’d agreed they would stop at the point the errant child comes home, but the other facilitator ran ahead and, not actually being aware of how the story was supposed to end, as the parent welcomed the child and offered forgiveness.
When Debbie asked her about it, she said she’d been overtaken by some phrases she’d remembered and couldn’t get out of her mind: ‘Love is patient, love is kind, love bears all things, suffers all things’. She couldn’t remember where she’d heard them (my guess is at a wedding). ‘It comes from the Bible,’ Debbie gently offered, beginning a conversation about the Bible, about Jesus and about forgiveness.