Luke 15: 1-10
One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” So Jesus told them this parable:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbours together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent.
Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them—what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says to them, ‘I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!’ In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.”
You can’t get a much more marginalised group of ‘listeners’ – outcasts who were literally outside the gates of family homes, enclosures and town walls; tax collectors who were ostracised by the two communities of those whom they worked for, and those who were their kin. Jesus’ parable offers them a place of respect, purpose and abiding love in God’s realm.
The marginalised, at a significant cost and danger to themselves, seeking the lost and alone so as to return them to the place of belonging, carrying and caring for them on the journey.
The silenced, unnamed and lowly, with concerned, meticulous and methodical care, seeking that of seemingly least valuable, to restore its purpose, place and value. And then, drawing community together to see, understand, value and rejoice.
In their listening, reflecting and acting, following and fulfilling God’s Way, the marginalised and silenced are themselves restored and valued.
This parable brings the challenge of respect and priorities to the fore, even if we are marginalised or disempowered ourselves. How then, shall we hear, seek and restore the endangered species, the missing fauna and flora of eco-systems? How then should we approach the unsettled elements of water, earth and sun with methodical purpose and respectful restoration?
Let us listen to, hear, restore and value all God’s Creation
– and the angels of God will rejoice.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 07/09/2022
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