Luke 15: 1 – 10
One of my most frightening experiences as a parent happened when we were visiting the U.S.A. It was some years ago. My youngest daughter, Lillian, was almost two. We were shopping. I was looking at a display of socks, searching for the right size. Casper was standing right there. We only took our eyes off her for a moment. She vanished! We searched everywhere, up and down the store. We called her name. We enlisted the help of one of the store clerks. The other clerk went to lock down the building. I was filled with fear.
Then, we spotted two little red shoes peeking out from the bottom of another display on the wall. There she was, hiding, just a little bit from where we had been standing. We found her! She laughed and laughed at her own naughtiness. But we didn’t scold her. We were filled with joy that she had been found
In our Gospel text from Luke 15:1-10, Jesus tells two parables about searching and the joy that comes with finding. Like many of his parables, this one is told to say something about what God is like. God is like the shepherd who goes in search of the one, lost sheep. God is like the woman, who loses a coin, searching her house until she finds it. Neither the lost sheep nor the coin do anything. Yet, they are found. They are found by God who actively searches and finds, and rejoices in that finding. When thinking back to finding my then tiny daughter, I remember the absolute joy I felt.
Both parables conclude with rejoicing on a cosmic scale. There is a sense of celestial joy. The movement of joy pulsates from the one to the many; from the earth to the heavens. The diligence of searching is rewarded beyond the here and now. There is shared joy in heaven as the lost-one, who has been separated from God, is found (15:7; 10).
God spares no effort to find what belongs to God (15:4; 8). The seeking and saving is up to God, not up to us. Anytime any of us turns to God, reorders or reorients their life, God rejoices. The message of the Gospel is joyous, because God is love. Even if we do fall short, it doesn’t matter. God is so crazy in love with us that God will stop at nothing to search and find us. We can rest assured that God is for us. Fortunately for each of us, and for everyone, there will always be joy in being found.
Yours in Christ, Kathryn