Sheep, Coins, and Children

Luke 15 ends this week of focusing on the teachings of Jesus.  We pondered the Sermon on the Mount and how different the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven is from the kingdom of this world.  We looked at some parables that caused us to think about the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Then we read the Good Samaritan that challenged us to think about just who is in this Kingdom Jesus is talking about.  In today’s readings Jesus shares stories to impress us with the basic truth that the Kingdom is not a reward for our good deeds, our fantastic talents, or our wealth and power.  God is like a shepherd who goes out looking for his lost sheep to bring them safely home.  He is like a woman looking for a lost coin for all are valuable.  And he is like the father of the prodigal son who waits for the wayward younger son who has arrogantly demanded his inheritance to squander it in wild living, to return home.  He rejoices and throws a party. “I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” The father of the wayward son reminds his jealous older brother that those who faithfully serve God always have access to God’s resources

         I suspect we have all had those times when we have felt lost like that sheep, unseen like that coin, and so unworthy like the prodigal son.  “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  Thank goodness that in those lost and dark hours we can turn to a God who cares not about our wonderfulness but that we are his and he wants relationship with us.

         So what can we take away from this today?  Maybe you are in a good space and rejoicing.  We need only turn on the news and we can think of those trying to get to the Kabul airport, those needing a bed in our overcrowded hospitals, or those weeping over lost homes in the fires.  If you are a good space then spend a couple minutes praying for one of these groups.  If you feel the plight of the sheep, the coin, or the son then remember the father who is running to you with open arms ready to throw a party at your return.  Blessings as you process these parables.

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