The Lost Sheep, by Christine Hides
So he told them this parable: “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 neighbors, 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 persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3–7
Reflection: Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem when he hears a complaint: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he tells them a parable. Actually, he tells them three parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son who are all found. My friend calls Luke 15 “the Bible’s Lost and Found Department.”
In the last two years many of us have experienced the loss of connection and belonging. With our worship disrupted and our time with friends diminished we may have felt lost on our own couches as we scroll aimlessly, searching for…?
Luke 15 has been called the “heart” of the gospel because of its central location and theme. Here we see Jesus’ heart for sinners and outcasts. One sheep out of one hundred is one percent, a reasonable loss in the businesses we know. But not for Luke’s Jesus who comes to “seek and save the lost” (19:10). Here is an image of God at work in our lives before we know it, who knows each of us by name, who will go out of the way to reach someone who has lost the way, who rejoices (twice!) when they are found.
Good Shepherd, find us in our wandering.
Enfold us in your boundless heart. Amen.