April 4, 2021
“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep!” (Luke 15:6)
“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin!” (Luke 15:9)
“We had to celebrate. … your brother was … lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32)
I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of funny for me to imagine having sheep in the first place. We kept chickens in America for several years. But though I’m a pastor, I would be likely to lose all the sheep if I were an actual shepherd.
But I can imagine being really relieved, and even ready to celebrate, if I found a sheep that I had lost. Sometimes our chickens would wander off. Often, when I had nearly given up, thinking a hawk had stolen the hen away, I’d find our feathered friend sitting in a bush, watching me look for her.
It’s much easier though to imagine losing money in our apartment.
And, as a father, I have had to reckon with the fear of losing one of my beloved sons. A pastor acquaintance of mine had a son with the same name, the same age, as my son Deacon, and lost him in an auto accident several years ago. With each memory he posts to Facebook of his lost Deacon, my heart sighs with the fact that my own Deacon (and his brothers) are not immortal.
The Heavenly Father also knows what it’s like to lose his “deacon”—his Son, his servant, his firstborn. He doesn’t have to imagine. He knows. When the father in the third parable Luke 15 says, “we had to rejoice: your brother was lost, and now is found,” we are hearing the voice of Jesus’ own Father, and ours. Easter tells us that Jesus was dead, but now alive; lost, but now found.
The Father’s call is to feast with him. To feast with his Son. To feast in the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, thank you for this Lenten journey that has led us to this resurrection feast. Thank you for your readiness to lose your beloved Son, so that we might become daughters and sons in his resurrection life. Help us, in the Spirit, to keep the feast together, living lives of Easter joy and hope. Amen.