This is an update of my take on the story of the Prodigal written three years ago, under the influence of Garrison Keillor's hilarious (and rather different) version found here. It's based, of course, on Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32.
Narrator: Jesus had a lot of attention from everyone as he got closer to the end of his time in human form. A lot of men and women of dubious reputation were hanging around with him, listening to all he had to say. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story, or something very much like it…
Older Daughter: "There was a woman who had two daughters. The younger of them said to her mother,
Younger Daughter: 'Mom, I’m tired of living here on the farm. I’m ready to see the Bright Lights and the Big City! I want you to give me right now what's coming to me when you die.'
Mother: Needless, to say, her mother was a little shocked. (to Younger Daughter) Honey, I know it can be a little dull here. But what if we just went shopping more often? Or took off for a long weekend? How about if I added on a private bath for you, with a Jacuzzi?
Younger Daughter: No, Mom. I mean it. I’m ready to leave home.
Narrator: So the mother, with a heavy heart, divided her property and gave her daughter what she asked.
(Mother gives Younger Daughter a heavy bag full of money. Younger Daughter weighs it appreciatively.)
Older Daughter: It wasn't long before the younger daughter packed her iPhone in her brand new Kate Spade bag, put on her Prada shoes, and left for the big city. She put her money in mutual funds.
Younger Daughter (to people in the congregation): You should see my new place! Want to come to my party tonight? We’re making appletinis!
Narrator: After she had gone through all her cash, there was a downturn on the stock market, and she lost everything.
Younger Daughter: Wow, I’m in trouble. My money is all gone, and I can’t pay my rent, and I’m hungry! I wonder if I could get a job babysitting? I don’t like kids very much, but it can’t be too hard.
Mother: But that didn’t work out very well.
Younger Daughter: You want me to change his WHAT?!?!!!
Narrator: She tried to find work as a waitress, but since she had never lifted a finger, and the economy was bad, no one wanted to hire her. So she hitchhiked to the country.
Older Daughter: Finally she got a job on a farm, and they sent her out to slop the pigs. Now pigs were about the worst thing in the world to her, because in her religion they were unclean. You weren’t supposed to eat them or go near them.
Younger Daughter: Also? They’re disgusting!
Narrator: She was so hungry she would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but even that wasn’t allowed. And finally she came to her senses.
Younger Daughter: All those farmhands working for my mother, taking care of our cattle, sit down to three good meals a day. I've got to go back to my mother. I'll say to her, “Mom, I’ve really learned a lot working in agriculture, and I’m ready to come back and help you manage the family business!”
Narrator: (to Younger Daughter) Are you sure you want to say it that way?
Younger Daughter: Okay, maybe not so much. "Mother, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your daughter. Take me on as a hired hand."
Narrator: That sounded more like it. She left her high heels behind and started the long walk home. When she was still a long way off, her mother saw her. Heart pounding, her mother ran out, embraced her, and kissed her. The daughter started her speech—
Younger Daughter: 'Mother, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your daughter.'
Older Daughter: But her mother wasn't listening. She was calling to the servants:
Mother: 'Quick. Bring out a clean dress!! Put the family ring on her finger and sandals on her feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and barbecue it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My daughter is here—we gave her up for dead and now she is alive! We gave her up for lost and now she’s found!
Narrator: And they began to celebrate and have a wonderful time!
Older Daughter: Now the older daughter was still working in the field. When the day's work was done, she came up to the house and heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, she asked, “What in the world is going on?”
Narrator: Your sister came home. Your mother has ordered a feast — barbecued beef! — because she has her home safe and sound.
Older Daughter: Get out!
Narrator: Get in!
Mother: (to Older Daughter) Daughter, you’re back! Come on in and greet your sister!
Older Daughter: No way!
Older Daughter: Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Did I even ask you for so much as a cell phone? Then this daughter of yours who has thrown away your money on bad friends and wild parties shows up and you go all out!
Mother: Daughter, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours–but this is a wonderful time, and we have to celebrate. This sister of yours was dead, and she's alive! She was lost, and now she's found!