SONGWRITER | CALVIN
This song is all about the story of the Lost Son, told by Jesus and recounted in the gospel of Luke. The story is a timeless picture of love; God's enduring patient love.
The lyrics were further inspired by the contemporary painting of the father and son by Charlie Mackesy and by a book by Henri Nouwen The Return of the Prodigal Son which is a meditation on the story and especially the painting of the same name by Rembrandt which hangs in a gallery in St Petersburg.
Underlying the whole track is the gentle texture of the harmonium that Matt actually played. It was a real highlight of the album sessions, recorded at the end of a great day at Paul Burton's G4 studios. The gorgeous old harmonium used to belong to Paul's grandmother. Maybe there's a bit of her spirit, the spirit of deep parental love across miles and generations somewhere in the sound of the track.
For anyone who listens and feels like they're far away; remember you can always come home. There's a party waiting!
'Sitting there, I realised that the light in the gallery became more intense as the afternoon progressed. At 4'o'clock the sun covered the painting with a new brightness, and the background figures - which had remained quite vague in the early hours - seemed to step out of their dark corners. As the evening drew near, the sunlight grew more crisp. The embrace of the father and son became stronger and deeper, and the bystanders participated more directly in this event of reconciliation, forgiveness, and inner healing. Gradually I realised that there were as many paintings of the Prodigal Son as there were changes in the light, and, for a long time, I was held spellbound.’
'When I saw the Rembrandt picture for the first time… all my attention was drawn to the hands of the old father pressing his returning boy to his chest. I saw forgiveness, reconciliation, healing; I also saw safety, rest, being at home. I was so deeply touched by this image of the life-giving embrace of father and son because everything in me yearned to be received in the way that the prodigal son was received. That encounter turned out to be the beginning of my own return.'
extracts from The Return of the Prodigal Son (a story of homecoming) by Henri J.M. Nouwen