I have really enjoyed preaching on the stories of Jesus. Sunday, I continued by focusing on the parable of the shepherd who had one hundred sheep and loses one, or it wanders off. I used the Matthew version, because in Luke it is the first story of three. The stories in Luke include the woman and the ten coins and the “prodigal” son. The Matthew version also has a very different setting, so I wanted to spend some time on the slant and meaning that Matthew brings to the story.
So I spent intentional time studying not just about a shepherd and sheep, but about Jesus and his viewpoint on the lost, the vulnerable, on children and little ones. What has become very clear for me, is from Jesus’ point of view, it doesn’t matter if there is a hundred sheep, or ten coins or two sons, reconciliation is always the goal.
I didn’t say this in the sermon, but years ago my Old Testament Professor from Saint Paul School of Theology noted in Psalm 23, the final verse, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” that the word translated as “follow” was more a more active verb. The verb might be better translated as “pursue.” I can acknowledge that both of those words can seem or uncomfortable particularly if one has a history of abuse.
The point of the words though, when combined with the Matthew story is that God is not going to ignore the lost or the needy or the vulnerable or the weak. God is longs for a relationship with all of us as beloved children.
Yesterday’s worship service and sermon is my attempt to give voice to this God who looks for the lost. The service also has a great video highlighting Vacation Bible School. As I said in my sermon, I am sometimes lost and not so good about looking for those who have wandered away. I am grateful for a God who loves me and loves us all enough to come looking for us.