The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three consecutive parables about four lost things—a lost lamb, a lost coin, and two lost sons. I guess Jesus really wanted his listeners to understand his message because he basically makes the same point three times. You know the old saw for preachers, teachers, managers, and parents: First tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you told them.
They’re three of Jesus’ most beloved and repeated stories. Luke 15 has been called The Gospel Within the Gospel because it functions as a terse précis of all 66 books of the Bible, telling, in three brief yarns, the whole history of God with God’s people from Genesis to Revelation.
After he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum wrote Dot and Tot of Merryland (1901), about a boy and a girl who visit an imagined kingdom adjacent to Oz. Merryland is comprised of seven valleys.
The last and least visited of the valleys is called The Valley of Lost Things. Its floor is covered with pins, thimbles, buttons, rings, pencils, pennies, caps, and overcoats. Dot finds a long-lost toy there and is allowed to keep it, because it’s not lost anymore and no longer belongs there.
Luke 15 is the Bible’s Valley of Lost Things.
Eastertide Sermons: The Valley of Lost Things
|April 23||Luke 15:1–7||The Valley of Lost Things, I: The Gospel Within the Gospel|
|April 30||Luke 15:8–10||The Valley of Lost Things, II: When You Get Dropped|
|May 7||Luke 15:11–24||The Valley of Lost Things, III: Lost and Found|
|May 14||Luke 15:25–32||The Valley of Lost Things, IV: The Party I Refused to Attend|