Luke 15:1-32: All That was Lost
Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 6, 2016
Sceptics wonder where the faithful see God in the world that surrounds us. Non-believers take credit for all that they store up; they blame themselves and others for a lack of success. The faithful move forward with their eyes on the prize . . . the knowing that all that was lost will in the end be found, all who were scorned will in the end be justified, and all who were last will certainly be first.
In today’s Gospel we again hear the familiar stories of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. We hear Jesus’ clear assertion after each of these stories that God rejoices more over the gratitude of the lost who are found than the steady love of those who never leave him. This certainly gives us something to consider.
We may see ourselves as sheep who never leave the shepherd’s side . . . but when we are honest we know that we have each been lost at one time or another. We might welcome the joy the creator showers on us.
There’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
We may see our tiny turnings toward God as insignificant moments in a turbulent day . . . but God sees them as a wonderful occasion to rejoice. We might join in the rejoicing of others.
Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.
We may see a lack of fairness in our lives when those who are newly arrived to faith in God are celebrated as much or more than those who have been faithful . . . but God invites all of us to join in the celebration of the return of those who have been found. We might tell others this good news of God’s goodness.
You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!
We may each remember times when we have envied the good fortune showered on others when we work long and hard to remain close to God. We may each have experienced times in our lives when all that has been lost far overshadows what appears to be found. In all of these occasions, when we look carefully and honestly, we will see that what once was empty has been made full. What once was dark now has been made light. And what once was lost has
most beautifully been found. When we give thanks to God for this marvelous gift of redemption, we become part of the celebration and great joy in the kingdom that erupts when the lost are found.
When we believe that we do not see God’s presence often in our lives, let us look at these times when weariness, anger, jealousy or envy may have unfocused our vision. And let us ask God for clarity as we begin this week’s Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “God’s generosity is sometimes not fair,” let us think instead, “When we put away the past and follow God’s example of enormous generosity, we are better able to welcome the lost back home into the kingdom . . . and to give thanks for our own part in God’s great rejoicing”.
For other reflections on, The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son, use the blog search bar to explore.
To learn about The Innocence Project that assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing, visit: http://www.innocenceproject.org/free-innocent. Find out about how more than 300 people in the United States have been exonerated, including 20 who served time on death row. For a story Anthony Ray Hinton, one of those freed after nearly 30 years in Alabama, forgives those who incarcerated him, visit: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/09/30-years-on-death-row-a-conversation-with-anthony-ray-hinton#.VmpdpHOMQ
Tomorrow, coming to believe.