Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. God proclaims judgement on God’s foolish people, who are skilled at evil, but have no knowledge of doing good, and the land is destroyed in the wake of God’s anger.
Psalm 14. Foolish people say there is no God and live in destructive ways, but God’s people hope in God’s salvation and the joy it will bring.
1 Timothy 1-2, 12-19a. Paul celebrates God’s mercy in that God forgave him and empowered him for ministry, in spite of his sinfulness and ignorance.
Luke 15:1-10. Jesus explains his friendship with ‘sinners’ using the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin – where celebration is inspired by the lost thing being found again.
Rev Tania writes.
This week we reflect on God being a God of the Lost and Found.
Much of the destruction and evil in our world is the result of ignorance and the failure to recognise God’s presence and purpose – so say the Lectionary readings this week. The suffering and injustice that this causes is an offense to God that arouses God’s anger (Jeremiah) but, God is gracious, seeking out what is lost – as in Jesus’ parables in Luke’s Gospel – and healing, restoring and forgiving those who have done wrong (as in David’s Psalm and Paul’s letter to Timothy).
More than this, God so changes those on whom God pours God’s grace that they become agents of God’s grace and healing to others – as Paul testified about himself.
We are aware too of toxic ‘unwritten’ codes of exclusion which, irrespective of law or religious teaching, can result in the ‘loss’ of the distinctive contribution of those with a different view, ability, race, class, or gender identity. Human and biological diversity.
Jesus’ stories of redemption of the Lost call out the hypocrisy of these attitudes, and inspire hope for change; for a fresh start. Careful reading of the Gospels will reveal Jesus’ habit of offering forgiveness first, before any ‘penitential’ action was undertaken.
Healing, not vengeance and punishment, is the priority of the Good Shepherd, and the housewife, who, having found just the one lost coin, blows a fortune on a party to celebrate.
When we face our own lostness, (repent) we are realigned with God’s way of life.
May our worship lead us into true repentance – the starting place of justice in our own hearts – this week.
Blessings as we seek to live a Gospel-centered life! Rev. Tania.