“You Are Here”
by Rev. Chase Peeples
September 11, 2016, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
When Jesus told the stories of the lost coin and the lost sheep, his hearers included “pharisees and scribes” who objected to the “sinners and tax collectors” whom Jesus accepted. Our tendency as modern readers is to flatten these “pharisees and scribes” into bad guys and villains, yet they weren’t necessarily bad people. On the contrary, they were probably good people according to the standards of their cultural circles. Proper religious practice involved staying away from specific types of people who did impure things. Nationalism meant rejecting tax collectors who worked for the Roman overlords controlling their country. Yet, all kinds of “good” things expected by religiou and culture may not be good at all to Jesus. When we forget that we are just as “lost” as the next person and the things we look to for security and status are fleeting, we can discover we are “lost”. The good news is just as the woman looks for a lost coin and a shapherd looks for a lost sheep in Jesus’ stories, God is always finding us even in the middle of our “lost-ness”.
“Loss, once reckoned, once absorbed, is a precious gift. No, I cannot be what I was before but I can be — in fact I must be — something new. There is more of God in me, I discover in emptiness, than I have ever known in what I once took to be fullness.”
- Luke 15:1 - 10