The father empties his coffers

The father empties his coffers

A new take on the prodigal son

On Sunday November 23, 2008, our community departed from the usual lectionary readings and offered up a somewhat unusual rendering of the very familiar parable of the Prodigal Son. Working with a series of poems by the monk-poet Kilian McDonnell, with music by an ensemble led by Gord Johnson, we unpacked this parable in a way that allowed people to hear anew some of its deeper, more challenging and ultimately liberating textures. We are grateful to have received both the author’s and the publisher’s permission to use this cycle, titled The Father Empties His Coffers, as the focus for this liturgy. While the recording presented here does not capture the congregational singing, it does at least give some sense of how the music and the poetry were woven in and through each other.

Kilian McDonnell’s three collections of poetry – Swift, Lord, You are Not, Yahweh’s Other Shoe (from which the Prodigal poems are drawn) and God Drops and Loses Things – are available from Liturgical Press.

There are two ways to hear this presentation (runs 28:19):

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