Journey is one of those words that for many pastors is completely overused during the Lenten season.
I get it, but as with most things that get overused there is a reason for it. Life and many aspects of our life of faith, in particular, are very Journeyesque! Or is that Journey-ish? Nevermind… you get my point.
Today’s reading is a short one for a change. It is the tail end of a passage about greatness and temptation to sin. God takes our care very seriously, and Jesus uses a bit of hyperbole to get his point made. Next we hear the story of one hundred sheep, one of whom has wondered off, gone on a journey.
Here is the thing about Journey’s. When we hear the word itself, we often think of long meaningful journeys fraught with angst and spiritual epiphanies. The truth of the matter is that most often, we are just sheep that wander off from the fold. We gamble off following our whims and our “best judgement” and before you know it we are lost. Oh it is also highly likely we will not know we are lost for quite some time because we think we know what we are doing!
There are two hugely powerful phrases in these four short verses. The first is that God goes and seeks out the lost sheep and when it is found there is such rejoicing! I think when we realize that we are lost, and God is looking for us we can get quite sheepish. So much, so that we might make it more difficult that it needs to be to have God find us once again.
I am sure you have lost something valuable to you in your lifetime. Jesus is telling us that is how God feels when we have wandered off and are no longer counted among the flock. It is also likely that you have found that thing you lost. This is how God feels each time a sheep is found. The only difference is that we can choose to run away from God; my remote control really can’t sprout legs and run away.
The second phase is my favorite; “So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” In a world of judgement and condemnation, this is good news, this gospel of the purest sort. If you have lost your way and you run from God because you fear judgment, don’t! There will be rejoicing!
This goes for those of us whose journey’s do not take them very far off the farm as well as those of us who have wondered the wildernesses of the world. When God finds you and brings you back to the fold there is joy, there is wholeness, there is life at its fullest.
For a slightly different take and my PhotoADay devotional click here