“So he told them this parable: 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? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And 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.’ (Luke 15:3-6, NRSV)
The grumbling of the Pharisees and the scribes in today’s gospel is actually our holy hope: This Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. That our God wills to seek and to save the lost is not only a holy hope, it is our only hope. As Paul’s first letter to Timothy reminds us, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Thanks be to God.
Music For The Day
Traditional Worship Hymn of the Day: 587—There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy — The second verse of our hymn of the day offers us these powerful lyrics: There is welcome for the sinner, and a promised grace made good; there is mercy with the Savior; there is healing in his blood. Are these not words our souls demands that we sing? … are these not words our world needs to hear?
New Day Sending Song — We Believe — In New Day, our sending song opens with these words … In this time of desperation, When all we know is doubt and fear. There is only one foundation. We believe, we , believe. In this broken generation, When all is dark, You help us see there is only one salvation. We believe, we believe. We need to sing and embrace those words too, don’t we?
For Further Reflection
“Against so much that is drab in religion, Jesus depicts the happy laughter of a Father who invites the angels to the homecoming festival. Somber, morbid religiosity has no place in the Kingdom. Dancing, the blowing of trumpets, beating of drums is a legitimate part of the church’s worship. The cult of respectability must give way to the cultivation of the art of joy over God’s delight in reclaiming the refuse of humanity. In worship the Shepherd is congratulated, not the sheep. God does not commend the righteous for remaining righteous, and Jesus has not come to compliment them for what they ought to be in the first place. Nor has he criticized their standards. Their position is not made less secure by Jesus’ outreach to publicans and sinners. All he expects of them is that they share his joy over the return of the lost.” ~~ Fred Danker, Jesus and the New Age