I have a confession to make. I am a real, true-to-life, no-one-better-at-it than I, LOSER. Oh, I know that the letter or form or valuable article is in my office, the kitchen, or the sofa where I was reading it before supper was done. But I can’t find it!
My wife insists that there is some kind of black hole in our backyard containing numerous wrenches, hammers, knives, screwdrivers, and perhaps even a chainsaw or two which have been lost.
Being a loser, I also know the joy of being a finder! I have several methods for finding things: trying to picture where I was when I last used it, asking my wife if she stole it, or turning my house or office upside down!
Luke 15 speaks of lost things and the joy of finding them. The sheep in the story have been lost, by wandering off; it’s not like the shepherd forgot where he left it. The shepherd leaves the 99 in the wilderness and goes looking for the lost one. Upon finding the sheep he carries it home over his shoulders and he invites others to rejoice with him at a party.
It seems that Jesus is seeking to connect with the complainers by telling them simple stories. Jesus is telling the people who have called his behavior into question that this is how God works and it is his ministry to live out God’s welcome.
The words we hear are seeking, finding and rejoicing. God’s love for us does not stop when we wander away.
Imagine God’s love finding us in all of our brokenness; hidden behind our full-time job face, our grandmother’s baking cookies apron, the farmer’s wind-burned skin and weathered hands, or in the midst of our fights with our kids over bedtime or drugs or computer versus homework.
Imagine God finding us and throwing a party. Imagine a way of looking at life and faith that is about rejoicing just because of who we are. Not because of our successes or number of gadgets, or biggest television or newest car, or because we never gave our parents any trouble.
It’s about hearing the music from the party and knowing that we are sharing the joy of God’s boundless love and welcoming grace. We are lost and we are found; we are part of God’s family.
Jumper is pastor of the Pontiac First Christian Church. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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