One of my favorite theologians, Robert Farrar Capon, argues that the Christ-figure in The Parable of the Prodigal Son is neither the younger nor older brother, nor the father, but rather, the fatted calf that is killed for the barbeque of reconciliation in the end of the tale. He notes that it is through the fatted calf’s death that the family once fractured is brought back together; that the creation of community comes from a common meal; and that death leads to resurrection, as always. I like that interpretation, though I will admit I appreciate its shock value more often than not.
I’m thinking a lot about cows this week—we’re approaching the end of our stewardship emphasis, and on Sunday, we’ll be talking about the third temptation of Israel in the desert, the creation of the great golden calf. “Where is God?” the people demand. “Why is Moses taking so long?” they cry. “It’s clear we need a real god—a god we can touch, keep tabs on, and drag around for our own purposes,” they say. Just as there’s a Back to Egypt committee in the Church still to this day, there’s also the Calf’s Guild, too—the hard work of transformation and resurrection, of liberation and sacrifice, can be explained away if we just return the favor to God and make God in our image, right?
Luckily for us, golden calves make the best hamburgers. There’s something to be said about feasting, giving and love. I hope you’ll be here for worship on Sunday, and especially for the meal afterwards. See the newsletter below for more details. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
P.S. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started conceptualizing my meatloaf for the next Great Meatloaf Cook-Off. Congratulations to Steve and Linda, sure; but don’t get too comfortable with that crown!