Sunday Sermie

Title: God's Gigantic Grace

Reading: Luke 15:1-10

Being physically lost is a terrible feeling. Whether on foot, on bike, or in a car - it's awful to be lost. It's a combination of confusion and helplessness. To not know where you are.....Or where you're going. We've all been there at some point. It happened to me just a few weeks ago. I was headed out on a home visit to a place I had been many times. 

Then I realized there was a major road closed. And a detour. Something strange happens when I take detours - my brain turns into a black hole from which I can retrieve no sense of direction. And before I knew it, I was wandering the gravel roads, hoping to stumble across someone who would take mercy on me and get me back on track. 35 minutes late, I did eventually arrive at the destination. 

It stinks to be lost. And that's just a very small example. 

There are other ways to be lost. There's physically lost. But there's also emotionally lost. And spiritually lost. And these are usually a lot more painful. Anytime we're feeling separated - isolated - broken...it's a kind of lost. And it happens in different ways....

It's the relationship that is so broken, we're not even sure it can be healed.

It's the job we find so stressful, we can hardly get out of bed.

It's the grief at a loss so huge, we wonder if our heart might just literally break and stop beating. 

It's the insecurities burried so deep, we question whether we are worth anything at all.

It's feeling completely alone even in a sanctuary full of people. And wondering if anyone even notices. 

That's lost. And in some way, shape, or form - we've all been there. And some of us are there right now. 

Jesus gets it. In today's gospel, he speaks about it. Directly. Because that's how Jesus is. He doesn't avoid the hardest parts of life  - he jumps right into them. And then promises not to leave. 

Jesus is speaking to a really interesting combination of folks in this gospel lesson. People who openly admit they're lost....the "tax collections and sinners." And people who are doing all they can to hold it all together...."the Pharisees and scribes." In the end, they're all actually lost - it's just that some find it easier to admit. These folks are not so different from us. 

The stories Jesus tells are stories about God's gigantic grace. A shepherd who goes out of way and stops and nothing to find a lost sheep. A woman who searches high and low until she finds a lost coin. But Jesus isn't talking about sheep and coins. He's talking about us. 

And how God searches us out...again and again and again....and our whole lives....FOREVER finding a way to let us know that we matter. That we're worth something. That no matter how lost, no matter how broken, God is going to lift us up on His shoulders and journey with us in the midst of it. 

This gospel is an amazing depiction of grace. It isn't that the lost sheep finds the shepherd. It's that the shepherd finds the sheep. That's grace. It isn't that we have to find our way back to God. It's that God finds us. God finds us. However lost. And then accepts us and embraces us. 

We don't have to get things right first.

We don't have to tidy up our brokenness first. 

We don't have to DO anything. Sometimes we wrongly imagine that if we did more - or tried harder...that then we'd earn God's love or acceptance or a more perfect, predictable life. That isn't how it works. That isn't how grace works. 

Grace isn't about what we have done or will do - our triumphs or our mistakes - Grace is about God. And what God has done and is doing. Grace is about a love so big that it never ends....a love that fills the whole world so that no matter how lost we are, no matter what challenge or turmoil we face, we're never separated from God.

As lost as we sometimes feel - through Jesus, we're found. We're found to be worthy. We're found to be loved. We're found to be accepted. We're found to be gifted. We're found to forgiven and made new. 

God's grace is beyond comprehension. May you feel it today. May you believe it today.

And may we - as a family of faith - be a place where all people experience God's grace, forgiveness, and welcome. Now and forever. Amen.

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