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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 15:1–10

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (NRSV)

Reflection
“Which one of you,” Jesus asked the Pharisees, “would not leave all of the rest of your sheep to go and find the one single sheep that wandered off in order to bring it back into the fold?” Honestly, Jesus? No one. No one with any good sense would sacrifice an entire flock for one poor sheep who mistakenly wandered off. And certainly no one would throw a big party just because we found the single sheep. That is a ridiculous premise! Well perhaps it seems that way if you are one of the ninety-nine sheep.

But what if you stand more often with the one sheep who often finds itself lost? When you are the lone sheep, Jesus’ questions still sound over-the-top generous and rather outrageous, but also completely amazing and breathtaking, for the picture Jesus paints of God is a God who finds. It is a picture of a God who will stop at nothing to make sure all are found and all are safe. It is a picture of a God who will do anything to find the loneliest, most lost, scraggliest sheep around so that he can drape it over his shoulders and throw a big party when all are together again. It is the picture of a God who will search high and low, sweeping away all of the dust, turning on all of the lights, getting down on her hands and knees, eyes peering below the bed, hands feeling between the couch cushions, completely focused on finding that one lost coin. And when she finds it, she cannot keep her joy to herself but must tell anyone and everyone who will listen. When you are the lost sheep or the forgotten coin, being able to know and trust God the Finder is everything, isn’t it.

Prayer
God, your generosity and outrageously abundant love take our breath away. Thank you. Thank you for always searching for us. Thank you for always bringing us home. Thank you for always celebrating the reunion. Thank you for being our Finding God. Amen.

Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor


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