This Week's Focus -  "Lost & Found"  
    Click Link for Luke 15:1-10


Dear Friends,

If you think your life can get pretty rough sometimes, think about what it would be like if you had to be perfect… all the time. No flaws. No falls. No sins. There is only one person who has ever met that standard. It isn’t you… and it sure isn’t me. 

Over the course of a lifetime, we all mess-up. Maybe it’s a misstep. Maybe it’s a really bad habit… even an addiction. Or maybe, upon occasion, we have totally given in to sin and run wild. But big or little… the plain fact is that we are all sinners: some occasional, some habitual, some petty, some gross. Far from perfection, our lives are a cycle of falls and resurrections. In our pride, in our frailty… we have all been lost to sin. But in Christ’s love… we have all been found and redeemed.

That is why this fifteenth chapter of Luke is called the New Testament’s “lost and found department.” In these three parables, Jesus tells us repeatedly: that when we lose our way, God will search for us. He will find us. He will heal us. He will lead us home. 

In fact, Jesus has already done the hard part. He took our sins to the cross. He washed them in his blood. We are born again in the waters of Baptism. But life is long and our attention span is short. Like the sheep in the gospel, we wander away. We take God’s protection for granted… even though he never takes us for granted. Til the day we die, he is looking out for us. Like the shepherd of the gospel, he relentlessly pursues us. We may despair of our sins and give up on salvation. The Good Shepherd never does. He is with us to our last breath. In depravity and sacrilege, he loves us. In addiction and depression, he calls us home. In repentance and recovery, he celebrates our return. 

In Luke’s gospel, the gold coin obviously doesn’t know it is lost. While the sheep is driven by an instinct to regain the comfort of the herd. Only the prodigal has free will. Only the prodigal knows the full extent of his loss. He clings to the slimmest hope of some meager accommodation… not forgiveness, not reinstatement, just some paltry pity that will permit him to survive. 

As Christians, we know better. We know what to expect. Scripture reveals God’s longing for us, his boundless love, his ready forgiveness. It is ours for the asking. We may stray, but we are never lost. When we turn to him… when we turn from sin… we are healed… we are recharged… we are made new. 

That’s because we are not coins to be pocketed or sheep to be carried back to the flock. We are God’s foolish sons and daughters… so often forgetting how much he loves us… how much he rejoices in us. Even as prodigal children, we are made in his image. And while we are often his disappointment… we are always his beloved. In our many betrayals, God does not chase us down to punish us. When we hear his call… when we turn to him… he runs to meet us with his mercy.

This gospel reminds us that we are saved. But our salvation must be refreshed and renewed. The world, the flesh and the devil are a powerful undertow… pulling us off his path… leading us astray. We have all fallen and may fall again. But by clinging to Christ, our falls become shorter… our resurrections become higher. We can be misguided. We can stray. But, in Christ, we are never lost…  in Christ we are found forever.

God love you!

A Reflection for The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 11, 2016
©The Reverend David F. Sellery
St. John’s Church, Salisbury, Connecticut

Copyright © 2016 David Sellery, All rights reserved.

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