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Are You Found?

“Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.”  Luke 15:1-10 (CEB)

I have a bad habit of losing things – mostly papers that I hold onto because I know I’ll need them at some point.  I put them in a pile so they are right where I “know” I will find them, and of course, when the time comes that I need them, I CAN’T find them!  I start going through my “in” and “out” boxes on my desk, check in files where I may have put them, look at my “pending” file, and then I start searching the house.

Much to my relief, I DO eventually find them, but not after a lot of frustration and anger at myself for “doing this again.”  You would think I would figure out a better way, but I just don’t take the time to do it.  Maybe some day . . .

In the parable of the lost coin, a woman has lost one of ten coins.  I can imagine that this is a big loss for her because money didn’t come easily in her day.  She did a little of what I did:  she went through her pockets, swept the whole house, pulled out drawers, storage boxes, looked underneath things, and eventually she found it. The inanimate coin probably had rolled into a corner and was waving at her all along saying, “Here I am!”  But of course, she wouldn’t have “heard” it anyway – instead she had to work hard to find it.

Once she picked it up, instead of being relieved and putting it in a safe place, she went out and spent it because she threw a party to celebrate that she HAD found it!  Does that make sense?  Not to me.

But then, this parable is about God and God’s inclusive love.  When someone is “lost,” whether it’s one of us who might consider ourselves pretty faithful but who have missed the mark somewhere along the line, or whether it’s someone who has turned away from God, God goes looking.  When God finds us/them, we are lifted and celebrated.  We have found home.  So, maybe this isn’t about being lost; rather, maybe it’s about being found.

We are found with God’s amazing grace and infinite love.  We can’t understand it, but that love is so great, that every time someone turns to God or returns to God, there is great celebration!  God loves us that much, and God doesn’t give up on us!  Just as the shepherd who went to find one sheep and the woman who swept hard to find one coin, God finds us and celebrates us.

That’s pretty awesome.  How can we not want to spend time with someone who loves us that much?

In what ways have you ever felt lost?

Where or how did God find you?

Did you know that there was a celebration?

Being Found

[Jesus] found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ . . . Philip said to [Nathanael], ‘Come and see.’ . . . [Nathanael] said, “Rabbi, you are then Song of God!  You are the King of Israel!’”  John 1:43, 45, 49

There is a lot of “finding” going on in the passage from John 1:43-51.  Jesus found Philip and invited him to follow him.  Philip found Nathanael who was apparently a friend of his and invited him to go meet Jesus.  Nathanael found Jesus, and his skepticism and doubt about Jesus’ identity was removed.

It’s interesting that Jesus initiated through invitation, and Philip followed his example.  In spite of Nathanael’s rather nasty remark in verse 46, “Can anything from Nazareth be good?” he went to see Jesus.  Maybe he wanted to prove Philip wrong or satisfy his own curiosity about someone from Nazareth.  Obviously he considered Nazareth to be a worthless place and believed that it was certainly not the place from which the Messiah would come.

But meeting Jesus changed his mind.  It may have been Jesus’ interactions with him or maybe it was something about him in general.  It’s clear that Jesus attracted a lot of people even before he became known as a great healer and teacher.  Even John the Baptist’s disciples abandoned John and followed Jesus.

Jesus was someone worth following after all.  We often think that we have the power to choose to follow Jesus, and of course we do need to make that choice when it comes right down to it.  But even before we reach the point of choosing, Jesus has invited us to follow.  Jesus calls us and seeks us out, so we have been found far before we decide to follow.

Like Nathanael, there are many people who are skeptical about this Jesus.  People question his presence, his life, his resurrection, and all that he brought and continues to bring to this world.  Perhaps our calling as followers isn’t so much to find people (because Jesus has already done that) as it is to invite people and allow them to “come and see.”  It’s really not up to us to make sure they accept Jesus into their lives.  Our job is to invite through our words and actions.

Someone once said that we are the only gospel most people read.  How do we invite others to “come and see” Jesus through the way we live our lives?

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