21155 College BLVD
Olathe, KS 66061

Sunday, September 11, 2022

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Lost and Found

Today’s readings give witness that God has a heart for losers. God reconciles with the idol-worshiping people of Israel. The risen Lord calls the violent, blasphemous persecutor, Paul. The faithful shepherd rescues the wandering sheep and carries it home. The woman who lost one of her ten silver coins searches for it until she finds it. Similarly, God doesn’t abandon people even when people abandon God. The cross and resurrection testify to God’s faithfulness in that regard. God rescues strays one by one, making the first move to find the lost and create new hearts in them. When (in the first reading) Moses holds God to promises already made in the covenant, the breathtaking picture emerges of a God so committed to relationship that God is influenced—changed—by what people need and ask. This faithfulness of God, shared with overflowing grace in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus, is patient, forgiving, energetic, and ready to celebrate. Take the bread and cup—Jesus hosts the worshiping assembly again this week to welcome sinners and eat with them! Suddenly, “sinner” is no longer the best name for us. Try “guest,” “graced,” “gifted,” “loved,” and “empowered.” Then it’s time to follow Jesus out of the gathered assembly and into the world as apprentice sleuths for missing persons, bent on finding the lost and the broken and giving them an invitation to come home.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting. God takes the initiative to find sinners, each of whom is so precious to God that their recovery brings joy in heaven.

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to [Jesus.] 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3So he told them this parable: 4“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? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And 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.’ 7Just 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.
8“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? 9When 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.’ 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”