Thursday September 9, 2010
This Sunday marks the beginning of a new season in the life of Northwood. Fall activities are starting up, school is back in session, and many people are back from summer holidays. Welcome back folks.
Although the lectionary includes four scriptures for this Sunday, we will be focussing on only one of them, the gospel reading.
Luke 15:1-10 “The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin”
Our reading opens in controversy. Tax collectors and sinners (a great catch-all category that then referred to all those outside the religious and cultural community) were attracted to Jesus and the powers that be were not impressed. Looks like a teachable moment to Jesus. So he offers two parables: the lost sheep and the lost coin.
Although it is not included in today’s reading, this reading is part of a larger section which includes a third parable, the prodigal son. Taken together these reading are all about being lost, being found, about the gracious and unrestrained commitment God has to us as we wander away, and the uncontainable joy at the heart of God when we return.
Jesus begins with a question: “which of you…” does not abandon the majority in search of the one who is lost (lost sheep, lost coin, lost child). Well sadly the answer in our culture, more often than not is, not me! Why would I risk the ninety nine for the sake of the one? Why would I risk nine coins for the sake of finding one? Cut your losses. Don’t throw good money after bad. These stories challenge us to look at how much we hold on to what we have out of fear of losing it, and how reticent we are to risk for the sake of those who are lost.
In God’s great economy, every single one is valuable.
1. Where do you see yourself in this reading? Have you ever been the one lost? Are you one willing to risk it all for the sake of a lost one?
2. Where do you see a “cut your losses” approach operating in your world/ your life?
3. What is Jesus trying to say about the way the heart of God works?