Sunday, September 11, 2016
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, West Chicago
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Good morning! It’s wonderful to be here again with you all at St. Andrew. After being away for so many months, it seems kind of fitting that today’s gospel story is about lost sheep!
I’d like to do a kind of silly interactive thing this morning, if you’ll indulge me. One thing you might have noticed in our gospel text is that there is a lot of celebration! So in my sermon, whenever you hear the word “rejoice” or “rejoicing,” I want you all to do a little rejoicing! Let’s practice it right now. “Rejoice!” Excellent.
The two parables Jesus tells today in our gospel reading – about the lost sheep and the lost coin – are actually part of a set of three parables that make up the 15th chapter of Luke. The third parable is one you probably know very well: the story of the prodigal son, who wastes his inheritance and is later forgiven by his father.
I want to talk about these three parables together, because they share this common theme of something or someone who was lost being found again. And at the end of each story, there is a whole lot of rejoicing! When the shepherd finds his sheep and the woman finds her coin, they each call out to their friends and neighbors to celebrate, and the prodigal son’s father is so overjoyed by his return that his son can hardly get a word in edgewise! Continue reading