Thursday, November 08, 2012

Finding the Lost...a brief sermon on Luke 15:1-10

Having just moved into a new house, and living amidst a maze of boxes, the story of the woman turning her house upside down to find two lost coins resonates deeply with me. Just a few days after we moved in, a workman arrived to do an installation. He needed a part that I knew I had packed. Only... where? I stormed through the house. I went through the likely boxes. I opened the box that SAID it had the thing I was looking for... but that wasn’t it. That label was from the previous move. I kept looking. I began looking in the unlikely places. I recruited my wife. It was urgent. The installer was on a schedule. My wife finally dug the piece out of a box, that I had passed by because this box was labeled “Shoes.” I made a little shout for joy and got it to the workman.

Without my wife looking in the unlikely places, looking beyond the box’s label, a thing I failed to do, I would have been lost without my part, unable to complete the task. My wife went beyond what should have been to recover and bring the lost part to its rightful place. She pursued beyond what seemed correct. Who looks for a mechanical part in a box labeled shoes? she does, and in so doing, she joins the list of those who reflect God’s extravagant and desire to find those who are out of place, wearing another identity rather than the one given to them.

We should hear these two parables today as aimed at all of us who having been created in God’s image, are also absurdly born into broken relationships. With God, with one another, with creation and even with our very selves. Rather than leave us to dwell in such brokenness, God could of course only look for those who are living in properly labeled places, or God can begin the search by digging into the illogical places. Humans have after all, in choosing to put themselves in God’s place, have picked the most illogical and absurd place of all, thereby wrecking creation, sending us into a downward spiral toward death.

Thankfully God does not leave us to our own consequences. In his mercy and lovingkindness the Father sends the Son to seek us out, proclaiming and living out the good news in his life, death and resurrection so that even we might still experience it.  The proclamation of the gospel in the Word, both alone and with water, bread and wine, is the continued and sustained way that God seeks us out, so we might be moved by such immense mercy toward us, that we repent and by his grace crawl out of the box labeled “tomb” and into life with him.  

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Preached at First Lutheran Church, Grant St. Pittsburgh, PA for their noon Eucharist today.

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