PENTECOST 16C proper 19

September 12, 2010   

Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. The prophet uses the metaphor of a powerful hot wind that destroys everything and everyone in its path to describe the coming conquest of Judah by Babylon if Judah will not renounce and stop every form of worship practice but the worship of YHWH.

Psalm 14

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (1st of 6 weeks with Paul's letters to Timothy). Paul begins this first letter to Timothy by identifying himself — and all followers of Jesus — as recipients of incredible mercy to show that God in Christ is out to save sinners.

Luke 15:1-10. Lost sheep, lost coins, and celebration over one sinner who repents — Jesus' stories in response to criticism that he receives "sinners" and shares meals with them.
-Frederick Buechner calls these "small stories with large points."
-Luke 15.1-10 Stoffregen's commentary.
- All of Luke 15 concerns finding lost things. The second part...the Prodigal Son is read on the 4th Sunday in Lent.
- Parables not so much telling us what to do as describing the nature of God.
- All readings deal with someone or something that was lost and then found: Timothy, Paul, sheep, coins, us, etc.
-We are not the shepherd: we are the lost sheep. We are not the woman: we are the lost coin. God is the shepherd; God is the searching woman. God is the one who takes the astonishing risk of leaving the 99 sheep and coming to look for us, a journey of danger, daring and devotion. God is the one who carefully, thoughtfully, seeks us out like a woman meticulously and methodically tracking down a lost coin. This story about God is also an invitation to become a part of God’s story—if we can stop running away and hiding from the one who yearns and searches for us.
Jo Bailey Wells
- Jesus selects as models of the joy of God's reign two persons who were themselves outcasts: Shepherds and Women.
-These parables go by the need of the finder to find, not about the need of the lost to be found. Robert Farr
- God's love is a seeking love. Not just waiting for us to find Him.
- Most parables answer a question and deal with an attitude.
- With God we are never damned, only lost. Lindy
- They nibbled themselves lost. (see illustrations)
- The searching was to restore the fold to 100, the coins to 10, and make the family whole again. This has led me to consider that one of the reasons we need to join Christ in searching for the 'lost' is because we are incomplete without them ... the searching is so that we, too, can be whole.
- Jung called his patients "lost sheep"
-Our English word “pastor” is taken from the Latin word for shepherd. Chris Glaser
-There is no blame directed toward a straying sheep; the emphasis Jesus is making in this parable is seeking out something which is lost, finding it, and celebrating the discovery as a joyful event. . Israel is not the lost sheep here, but the tax collectors and sinners -- they are the lost sheep of the house of Israel Jesus is sent to (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24).Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
- Repentance is not the central issue of this story, although the Pharisees would make it so; rejoicing is! The main plot is not about mending our evil ways and coming in from the cold, but learning how to find, seek, sweep up, and rejoice. The invitation is not about being rescued by Jesus from our human fate; it is about joining in community to seek, be found, welcome, and celebrate! de Jong
- Kalas' "Parables From the Back Side," : it was a coin, he said, that women saved to put on some sort of headband during their marriage ceremony. Once they collected 10, they could be married "properly," and they saved and collected these coins because their very identity in ancient-time society (being married) was involved in having them.
-"[Spurgeon before his conversion] decided that he would attend every church in town to see if he could find the answers to how he might be freed from his burden. At church after church he found sermons that were aimed at Christians while ignoring those who so badly needed to *become* Christians."
-Is the church so full of shepherds or is it full of lost coins and sheep that don't really know they are lost? Maybe that one lost sheep left the 99 thinking he/she was out to look for lost sheep! anonymous
-The story encourages us to be both seekers and sought after, beloved and lovers, givers and livers of grace--and finally, we get to throw great parties as well as be  the special guests at the feast! de Jong
-The woman in this parable is very naturally taken as representing the Church itself. (Parable of lost coin) Zane C. Hodges
-You've got to get them lost before you can get them saved.
- The main requirement for being found by Jesus is to be lost. Willimon

SERMON                             THE HOUND OF HEAVEN     This phrase is title of a poem written by Francis Thompson. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing, ever drawing nearer in the chase, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. Not so much telling US what to do but what is the nature of GOD.  (we are not the one searching for the lost as much as we are the ones God is searching for)  Lindy

- because it is in God's nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
-The old bumper sticker "I Found It!" -- should really be "He Found Me!"
- Sermon title: "Search Party"
- It is one thing to lose someone or something. It is quite another thing to know yourself as lost and needing to be found
- Like playing hide and go seek....we hide; God searches us out.
- There's a God-shaped vacume in all of us, yearning to be filled. Jan Karon fulfillment
- Humpty dumpty..." all the kings horses and all the King's men could never put humpty together again". (Only God can heal in lasting ways)
-Earth crammed with heaven, each common bush aflame with God. Yet only he who sees takes off his shoes. E. B. Browning.
-God's choen people are also God's choosing people
-If you're hankering for God, He's already found you for it is God who creates the hankering Gerald Mann.
-God's tug, a kind of homing instinct. Destiny, homelessness is our primary identity. BB Taylor
-Bidden or not bidden, God is present. Carl Jung
-Either towards God or towards decay.·
-God is everywhere?, God is everywhere we let God in.

-The church is the great lost and found department / Jesus is on a search-and-rescue mission.
-Nothing more difficult than stuff that is lost "right under my nose" like misplaced keys and the like anony.

-Dear Anon...Q: Why did Jesus portray the tireless searcher as a woman? A: A guy would stand in the center of the room and say ? HONEY, HAVE YOU SEEN MY COIN??
-Aborigine christians commented that the sheep was lost because it was not "doing what it was supposed to be doing" which, he went on to explain, was to be the sheshkebab! Desperate Preachers

- Bring in a Susam B. Anthony dollar and tell the following story. A woman has ten Susan B. Anthony dollars in a nice wooden case with red velvet lining and little recessed partitions for each of the ten Susan B. Anthony dollars. And every morning she gets up, and she looks in there and pats them and polishes them and puts them back down again. She gets up one morning, and one of her precious Susan B. Anthony dollars is missing so what does this woman do? She is as crazy as the shepherd, if not crazier, because she stops her entire life. She stops anything she had to do that day. She stops whatever housework she was going to do, and she lights a light, and goes into all the dark corners. She sweeps, and sweeps, and sweeps, and looks under everything for the whole day until she finds this coin. And what does she do when she finds it? Interestingly enough, like the shepherd Jesus never says she puts it back in the box. It says she gets on the phone to her friends and her neighbors and says, "Come on over, I'm going to have a party. I found my lost coin." Relate this to the parable of the lost coin. Bass Mitchell

- Talk about the Lost and Found department of your church or school, etc. If it's possible to have a Sunday School teacher or you yourself snitch some child's mitten, bible, hat, coat, or some other thing, then you can approach the children during the Sunday service and say, "Look what I any of you own this?"  Lindy
Then, you can talk about how happy the child was when he/she recognized the lost and compare it to God finding lost sinners, etc. Lindy
- Talk to children about branding cattle. Show some examples of brands let them see if they can figure out what the brand might stand for. Then talk about the brand God has put on each of us and why God will never lose us.

- Talk about the game hide and it's so much fun being found. Then talk about how God searches for us and how happy He is when he finds us. etc. etc. etc. Lindy


1. The story is told of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. As an ordained priest in the Church of England, he had gone to preach to and convert the Indians in Georgia and miserably failed. After a year of labor, he boarded a ship back to England, but a heavy storm ensued and the ship nearly capsized. In his deathly fright, he realized that, though he had been preaching the Gospel of faith in Christ, he didn’t really believe his own message and feared death in the tumultuous sea. Then his eye fell on a group of Moravians, members of a Pietistic German sect, who were quietly gathered in prayer, calm amidst the tempest, and unwavering in their trust in Christ. "I wanted this kind of faith," he later wrote in his journal, "and I knew that I did not trust Christ with my whole life." Three years later, Wesley attended a little Moravian church on Aldersgate Street in London, and during the reading of Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans he felt his "heart strangely warmed" and he came to know what it meant to have been lost and then be found by the shepherd Christ.
2 Amazing Grace, Glimpses #28: John Newton: from hellion to hymn writer
3 told a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day be the Ganges River in India. One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the mediator, "Hey, stupid old man, what's wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?" The old man calmly replied, "My friend, just because it is in the scorpion's nature to sting, does not change my nature to save." It is in God's nature to save .Henri Nouwen
4.During the time when Hitler was coming to power in Germany, a Lutheran Pastor named William Wallner started serving thousands of refugees in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Among them was a young Jewish Christian named Karl Loes. Loes had been a leading art and drama critic and was a powerful influence among university students. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. Karl Loes fled for his life. The Lutheran Pastor lost track of him. Toward the end of W.W.II, a group of underground fighters were discovered in a cellar and murdered by the Nazis. On the wall were messages written in various languages. Wallner, the Lutheran Pastor, was asked to translate them, One was a poem: I believe in the sun when it is not shining. I believe in love, when I do not feel it. I believe in my Lord, Jesus, even when he is silent. It was signed, “Karl Loes.”
5. Culpepper includes this Jewish story to illustrate a truth of our text:
A Jewish story tells of the good fortune of a hardworking farmer. The Lord appeared to this farmer and granted him three wishes, but with the condition that whatever the Lord did for the farmer would be given double to his neighbor. The farmer, scarcely believing his good fortune, wished for a hundred cattle. Immediately he received a hundred cattle, and he was overjoyed until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred. So he wished for a hundred acres of land, and again he was filled with joy until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred acres of land. Rather than celebrating God's goodness, the farmer could not escape feeling jealous and slighted because his neighbor had received more than he. Finally, he stated his third wish: that God would strike him blind in one eye. And God wept. [p. 298]
6. A cow is nibbling on a tuft of grass in the middle of a field, moving from one tuft to the next. Before you know it, she ends up at some grass next to the fence. Noticing a nice clump of green on the other side of the fence, the cow stumbles through an old tear in the fence and finds herself outside on the road. "Cows don't intend to get lost," "they just nibble their way to lostness." from sermon by Nadine E. Ridley

- for the son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10
- Paraphrase parts of Ps.139
- Oh God, You are our Good Shepherd and we give thanks that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.
- Oh God, you are always there for us.
If we are blind, your light continually shines
If we are deaf you continue to speak to us persistently
If we pray, you are there, if we do not pray, you are there
In our sinfulness and in our righteousness you are there.
In our pain and in our joy, you are there
In our living and in our dying you are there
You are always there for us. source unknown








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