9/14/2013

Sought by God

Luke 15:1-10


Readings:

I was passionate, filled with longing, I searched far and wide. But the day that the Truthful One found me, I was at home.
—Lal Ded, 14th century, Kashmir

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold,
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd's care.
"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine--
Are they not enough for Thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer,
"This of Mine has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep
I go to the desert to find My sheep."
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night
That the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die.
And all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a cry to the gate of heaven,
"Rejoice, I have found My sheep!"
And the angels echoed around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own."
—Elizabeth C. Clephane,
The Ninety and the Nine
from the 1935 Methodist Hymnal

About 150 miles north of the Straits of Magellan on Chile's Patagonian ice cap soars a set of 8,000-foot pink granite teeth that are perhaps the closest Mother Nature has come to creating a scream in stone. If the prospect of scaling these spires—the Torres del Paine—isn't sufficient to inspire religious conversion, the savagery of the wind will at least leave you convinced that the Almighty is one heck of a housekeeper. Locals say la escoba de Dios, the "broom of God," sweeps this landscape—a fitting metaphor for the 100-mile-per-hour gusts that routinely lash climbers clinging to the Torres' walls.
—Tim Neville, The Broom of God: Climbing Patagonia’s Torres del Paine

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here, circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty, and finds the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob, blind with grief and age
smells the shirt of his lost son and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses, goes for fire and finds what burns inside the sunrise?
Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies, and opens a door to the other world…
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop. Now there's a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins. Suddenly he's wealthy.
But don't be satisfied with poems and stories
of how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
—Rumi

“Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’m come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.” from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” hymn #400.  The Hymnal Revision Committee for the 1989 hymnal, responding to suggestions that “Ebenezer” meaning “Stone of Help” in stanza 2 be eliminated, was not able to supply any alternative that was consistent with the language and meter of the hymn, and 1 Samuel 7:12: “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
 —Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal

Questions:
· Do you identify with the lost sheep or the coin or the found? Why?
· What happens when you’ve lost something, and find it?
· How does God find us? What does it feel like?
· How do we express our “found-ness” in God?











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