Sunday's sermon from Luke 15 connected the parable of the prodigal son to the story of Trevell Coleman. If you weren't at church on Sunday, I'd suggest skipping straight to the source and reading the original article from NYMag. It is here. The benefit of keeping a loose file of illustrations, stories, and interesting stuff was made clear for me Sunday. When I first read the long article two months ago, I filed it away as an inspiring tale about telling the truth. I didn't make any connections to the prodigal son or other pieces of scripture. But as I scanned my files for material that might make fresh an old and familiar story, one that is so tightly framed and well written that it is a sermon itself, Coleman's story sounded more like the prodigal's, especially after I settled on "coming home" as the thematic center of the sermon.
I didn't say this Sunday, but it could be that murder (Coleman's sin) is the modern equivalent to the prodigal's insistence that he get his inheritance early. For what else was the prodigal wishing for other than his father's death by asking that he receive now what was promised to be his later? The only thing standing in his way was his father's life.