This week's Bible Lesson includes Jesus' parable about the lost sheep. I am looking at it with fresh eyes to find something new and wonderful. To set it in context, he is addressing a crowd that included publicans and sinners who gathered close to hear him.
The publicans were despised and considered traitors who for financial gain had sided with the Romans and collected tribute for their treasury. Any money they gained would not be accepted as alms, they were not allowed to testify in court, and they were considered heathens. Sinners were those who were notorious transgressors. Jesus received both graciously and lived side by side with them in peace. This behavior greatly offended the Scribes and Pharisees. They were self-righteous and had neither love nor hope for them. Their murmurings lead Jesus to share this parable to warn them that there will be more joy in heaven over one of these penitents than over ninety-nine such as themselves.
They were to be as Shepherds of their religious flock. He came to seek and save that which was lost and so must they. And He seeks until he finds them. Or as with those who came to hear him, they found him. Then he gently carries them home, brings them back into the fold. And their is much rejoicing at their return.
We claim to be his followers, we study the Lesson each week, we attend services and participate in church. How are we seeking and saving those among us who are struggling? Do we leave them in their wilderness or do we seek to see their true identity and know they can never be separated from their Shepherd. When they start coming back to church do we welcome them with open arms with no reference to the wandering, audibly or held in thought?
Soul can never be lost. Man, who is the reflection of Soul, cannot be lost either. I will examine my thinking today and be sure I am on the side with Christ, obeying the Rule for Motives and Acts and not condemning or judging another's journey.
Show me, Shepherd, how to gather and how to sow and how to feed your sheep.