My kids... Nathan and Allan,
will say that I am more comfortable being lost, than found.
And they add that it is a strange proclamation,
for a Christian preacher. I must agree.
I used to say that I get lost in my bathroom,
but somehow that seemed to embarrass people.
So I borrowed a statement from another ‘lost soul’
and now I say...
and am quoted... by she who will remain un-named...
I now say... “I get can get lost in a paper bag.”
Sad... but true! I am often ‘gone missing’.
I do maintain that I always know where I am.
I am here... right here!
But it is getting from here to somewhere else that is the problem.
Lost can mean... not knowing where you are.
It can also mean, unsure of where you’re going.
When I am feeling lost,
unsure, overwhelmed or burdened...
I create some Sabbath time for myself,
to re-locate myself in the heart of God.
I open my heart... to the love of presence of the Holy,
and lean into that which is purely Love.
Sabbath time offers me a chance to be found...
to be reconnected with the divine and the sacred.
To be found and free and whole.
In the Parable we heard... actually two Parables... sheep and coin...
what is lost, can actually be looked for and found.
In the book of Luke,
the sheep and coin Parables are followed by the Parable of the Prodigal Son...
where the word lost has multiple meanings.
Parables are rarely straight forward, but I wonder if we hear the foolishness
that these particular Parables offer us?
We are so familiar with the stories we might miss it.
I know a few among us have actually taken care of sheep,
but many of us have been responsible for the welfare of others... a flock;
be it clients, customers, students, patients, our own children.
Yet I wonder if we would ever consider leaving 99 to the perils of life or the wilderness, and head off looking for one absent-minded fool, who got themselves lost?
Likewise... we may not keep our coins at home,
or our leave our valuables laying on a table,
or our investments under our mattress...
but still, we might have had some financial losses now and then.
For the most part though... we would not waste a moment
searching for tiny losses when our portfolios are full.
I dare say that if we managed to find or recoup our loss,
we are not so likely to invite the neighbourhood to a party
that would in all likelihood eat up more than we had found.
Even considering the cultural difference of society in the time of Jesus...
we would still name these parables of lost and found extreme... even outrageous...foolish.
Any sensibility... gone missing.
Yet we hear the Parables often, and accept them, even if they make no earthly sense.
We pass them off as simple stories, perhaps because we don’t have sheep in our lives,
and we do have bank accounts and credit cards.
No earthly sense...
But heavenly sense... Holy sense,
because Jesus shows us the heart of the Holy Mystery, in every Parable.
We can see the heart of the Holy Mystery, in these foolish parables - not when we dissect the story,
but when we let the story touch us, dissect us... unwrap us.
When we are open to the moving of the Spirit,
and we are stirred to experience the Sacred More... God...
then we are no longer lost, but re-discovered... found... re-created... made new.
It is perhaps only those who have experienced the pains and the joys,
of losing and finding... who feel the touch of the Parables, most deeply.
Yet... is that not all of us... truly.
We lose and we get lost.
Again and again, this happens in our lives,
and each time... God’s love breaks in and embraces us.
God breaks in and we find... and we are found.
It might sound like foolishness, but it is sacred foolishness by the author of Love.
Jesus, in the telling of the Parables,
shows us what God is like and calls us to a way of being in the world.
We are invited to embrace a reckless love that gives itself away
for the sheer joy of loving.
We are invited to see God as One who seeks a lost coin,
the One who has no problem getting their knees dirty
and looking for me... for you, and seeks to bring us back
to arms that long to hold us.
As people of God, we look towards the reign of the God of love, in our world.
In the time of God’s reign, there will be active and persistent love
for each one who feels lost or vulnerable or on the margins,
and we will joyfully participate in such inclusion.
Everyone will feel personal value, and feel cared for and honoured.
In the time of God’s reign,
the ledgers will account for every penny,
not because of greed, but so that everyone will have enough... and more!
In the time of God’s reign,
all creation, each lump of dirt, every animal, bird, crawling creature...
the air and each drop of water... will be celebrated as valuable.
In the time of God’s reign,
there will be a moment of foolishness... and then LOVE... only LOVE.
I wonder sometimes if these Parables don’t challenge
our concept of repentance.
Does the lost sheep repent?
Can a coin repent?
Can the self-involved, self-righteous, lost son, really repent?
First we are found by God and then in reaction to God’s reckless act of love
we turn foolishly toward that Love.
Our relationship is restored and the rejoicing can begin.
Worldly wisdom insists that repentance must come first.
The worldly wise hold up fists,
and build walls around their hearts,
not imagining that even God would have such reckless love,
to openly welcome those who have not at least confessed their sin.
Yet have we forgotten that repentance is the simple act of turning around... of returning.
Coming home... if you will.
We are called as individuals and we are called especially as church
to an un-calculating and foolish love.
We are called to be vulnerable in our ministry,
open to all and accepting of all.
Dare we be vulnerable to those outside the boundaries
of our private lives and our community of faith?
Dare we give with no expectation of reward,
love without demand for any kind of return?
Dare we... can we.. reach out to those in need with persistent compassion and care?
Are we completely foolish enough,
to reach out in love to those who are not easy to love?
In partnership with the God of Love and Compassion, we just might be!
We are called to try.
We are called to mirror the foolishness of God,
and to follow in the ways of the Christ.
We were once lost,
but now by God’s Grace, we are found.
We have been blind.
But now we see!
May we wisely see the foolishness of God.