16 September 2007Luke 15: 1-10
"Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost'. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance". (v.3-7)
This week in our Church calendar is the 24th in Ordinary Time.
Is any time ordinary? Is anyone really ordinary?
I was standing on the golf practice range with a bucket of balls. When I was about to hit the first a dog ran up and carried it off. It wasn't worth the effort to chase it; so only mildly peeved, I carried on.
"You should have chased it," my wife said when I told her. My reply was that it wasn't worth the effort, as the ball cost only pence. To which came the response, "That's not the point".
She reminded me that when my granddaughter lost her favourite hair slide, I looked high and low until it was found. It too only cost pence, but it belonged to someone I love dearly.
Jesus' story of the lost sheep makes the same point. The implication is that God does not say that it is not worth the effort to care for a minority. Even a minority of one is precious and loved dearly by him. Every single person is part of his creative concern.
The shepherd of the parable is willing to leave his other sheep "in the wilderness" for the sake of the one that is lost. If we expect God not to give up on us, can we dare think that there are others who are not worth our effort?
Do you see yourself as the 'lost' sheep, or as one of the ninety-nine trusted to get on with it in the wilderness? How do you feel about this?
Who do you think are the really lost, bedraggled and misguided sheep of our generation, and what could you do to show that God doesn't give up on anyone?