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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Today’s 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)

Reading Luke this month, I was struck by a sense of urgency to Jesus’ travels and teachings, an urgency that gave new force to some familiar stories: those of sabbath healing, of Mary and Martha, of the watchful servant. I was also struck by images of the small becoming powerful: the mustard seed and the yeast. And it seemed to me these hold true for our stories today.

Be quick! There is no time to wait when seeking what is lost—a sheep may be easy prey for animal or thief, or stumble on rocks or be tangled in brambles. A coin can so easily be hidden, swept into the street, or fall into a crack and gone forever. But what of ourselves? Are there parts of our lives that feel lost? Do we seek to be made whole?

Go, look now, and when you have found what is lost, rejoice at its return. For who knows what role it will play in the story of the world. Will that coin purchase the spices brought to the tomb? Or that lamb become part of the Passover feast? We do not know. Their owners do not know, but in the kingdom of God we can be sure that nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. Let us offer it all to God then, every part—those we fear we have lost and those we seek to lose—for in offering all this up, we invite God to use us in new ways, to restore wholeness to us and through us to the world. So seek for your lamb, your coin, your self that you thought lost, and bring it to Jesus with all speed and gladness. And there will be rejoicing in heaven.

Blessed Jesus, I come to you, lost and searching. May what I find become part of your heavenly kingdom, and may I be made whole. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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