Text: Luke 15:1-10
Parables tell us about how God and his Kingdom work. Jesus’ parables has this tendency to get us nodding our heads in agreement as our minds slip off into warm fuzzy images of precious moments sheep and shepherds. But we should be struck by the fact that this is not how we work. We lose 1 of 100, we give a cursory look and say oh well. We lose 1 of 10 and we look a little harder, get a little frazzled, but still no real change. We lose 1 of 2 (the prodigal comes after the text parables), and we are changed, but our goal is acceptance of the change. Our economy is about dealing with the losses.
God’s economy says no. I will fix this. I will search. I will search until I find. I will restore the wholeness. That is a far reaching understanding of God’s ways compared to ours.
On the meta side there are two things. The first was my joy in being able to use wholeness and restoration as the gospel/justification metaphor. The bible uses many ways to talk about what God has done for us in Christ. Wholeness or restoration strikes me as one of the more powerful ways to a modern audience. We are so used to being separated and fractured that talk of a God who seeks, finds and restores at all costs is powerful stuff. The danger is in the equating of theological wholeness with therapeutic wholeness. The contrast of our economy’s goal of acceptance vs. God’s goal of rejoicing is the difference.
The second meta thought that I couldn’t get into the sermon is the wonderful female image for God used in the parable. Jesus equates his work to a housewife with a broom. Even pointing that out might be sexist, but by putting it in parallel with the lost sheep, Jesus has placed that woman and the broom on the same level as the shepherd with his crook. That is typical of Luke’s gospel. He has an ear for equality.