The Scripture reading for this week is Luke 15:1-32
The Sermon title is Lost and Found
Early Thoughts: What makes something (or someone) worth finding?
These three parables suggest that God might answer that question differently than some of us.
Suppose you have 100 sheep and one goes missing. What fool would leave the other 99 alone in the wilderness (therefore in danger) to find the lost one -- who is likely dead or injured anyway?
You have lost 10% of you money. Surely it makes sens to do everything that you can to find it. But then to celebrate finding it by having a party -- and therefore spending what you just found?
You have 2 sons. One of them violates every norm of politeness and parental respect by claiming his portion of the family's wealth before you are even ill, much less deceased. Then when he comes back you abandon all sense of propriety by running down the road to greet him. Then you abandon all sense of fiscal management by giving away property (robe and ring) that theoretically now belongs to the elder brother (when you eventually die) and by throwing a party that involves killing a prized animal -- and forget to send someone to the fields to invite the elder brother. Then you tell the elder brother [who is having a very understandable temper tantrum] to get over it and come on inside.
These stories tell of the God who keeps looking, even when it makes no sense. They tell of the God who rejoices in the lost being returned to where it belongs, no matter the cost of the celebration. They tell of the God who, in grace, welcomes the wanderer home even before the wanderer makes an apology.
Robert Fulghum, in a story in one of his books,
suggests that sometimes we get lost on purpose -- only we call it
hiding. And then we sometimes hide so well that we get mad when people
seem to stop looking for us. Fulghum also suggests that we try the same
thing with God.
But of course the witness of Faith and of Scripture is that God doesn't
stop looking. Or God never stops waiting for us to "come to our
selves" and decide to stop being lost/hiding. And then there is a
party! There is always a party!
So maybe we who sometimes feel lost, adrift, wandering aimlessly, need
to all our selves to get found? Maybe we who sometimes get really good
at playing hide and seek need to "accidentally" let our arm poke out
from behind the bush? And then we can join the party too!
The love that will not let us go is the love that keeps looking for us. The wonderful love of which we sing is the love that declares it is always worth looking for the one who is lost.
This is Grace. This is Redemption. This is Hope.
Thanks be to God, the one is is always seeking.