The Lost Coin, by Christine V. Hides
“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8–10
Reflection: The second of three parables in Luke 15 (aka The Department of Lost Things) is clearly part of the coordinated set. The similarities mark them as a group (rejoicing, lost items, repentance) while the juxtapositions provide the perfect pop of interest (male/female, righteous/sinners, lost/found). The Parable of the Lost Coin goes with the lost sheep and the prodigal son like a bedding set in a bag or a six piece living room ensemble.
Just when we begin to settle into our cozy little metaphor, we find that meaning, like spare change or wayward Legos, might be lurking between the sofa cushions and under the rugs. If we know God as the Good Shepherd and loving Father, how does it feel to imagine God as the diligent Housewife? Some scholars, like Amy-Jill Levine, question whether protagonists who lose their prized items are suitable metaphors for God. But if one of the set is, then all three must be, and some will rejoice in a feminine image of God.
And what about the coin? How exactly does it sin and repent? Perhaps it is easier to imagine ourselves as the lost coin than it is to imagine God rejoicing over the repentance of someone who has hurt us. Let us pick up our brooms and continue to sweep and search deeper into the story to find the joy of this parable because “processes of forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation are messy,” (Barabra Reid and Shelly Matthews in The Wisdom Commentary: Luke 10–24, page 450).
Meet us in the mess.
Reveal for us your joy