Summary: A sermon for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost
15th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 19
A sermon by Rev. Tim Zingale
I would like to share with you this morning a modern day parable.
"A minister, touring in West Germany was invited to spend the night with one of the families of the host congregation. The family consisted of the father. the mother, and a twelve-year-old boy. The father began to tell the minister something about the family, and especially about the circumstances surrounding the adoption of this youngster whom they had rescued during the war years.
The father said: "The boy was just a poor orphan when we first saw him. He was in rags and very dirty, but his shoes were the worst of all. The upper parts were in tatters and the soles had huge holes in them. When we took him in, we gave him new clothes and threw his old ones away.
"We decided, however, to keep those battered shoes as a reminder of how badly off he had been when he first came here. I keep them on a shelf, and when the boy complains or becomes unruly, I merely walk slowly to the shelf, haul the shoes down, and remind him of how much we have done for him."
The boy looked hurt, ashamed, and even a bit unwanted. The guest, afraid to say anything, lest he should offend his host, thought to himself: what a blessing it is that God doesn’t continually drag out our old shoes."
When God’s forgives, He also forgets.
God has the magnificent quality about out him that he can forgive the past, and accept a person as he or she is in the present. God is so filled with love, that He doesn’t need to remind us of our old -sins, to keep us as his children. It is the power of His love that brings us into his arms. It is the power of’ his love for us that Leeds us to eternal salvation. God does not need threats to win us over to his side. It is the power of his love as shown through the death and resurrection of Jesus that changes our lives from ones that are filled with worn out, holely clothes, and shoes which are filled with holes because of sin, to lives that are new, refreshed washed clean because of the power of God and his love.
After God has changed us, he doesn’t constantly remind us how we were, he doesn’t point back to the rags of sin we used to wear. He doesn’t point back to the shoes of self pride, we used to wear, no we live with his love guiding us, caring for us, comforting us, upholding us and trusting us as his children.
Our gospel lesson this morning is about the forgiveness of God which changes our lives. It is about living a new life because of the power of God’s love to make changes in our lives.
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him.
2 The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them."
3 He told them this parable.
4 "Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it?
5 When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
7 I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
8 Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma, wouldn’t light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it?
9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’
10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting."
God is joyful when one sinner returns to the flock, or one sinner who is lost is found. And notice, if this is a parable about God, who is he in this parable? He is the shepherd and he is the woman. God finds the lost!!
God loves us out or the shear power of His love. Not because of something we have done to earn God’s love or to seek God’s love. God can and does love and forgive with no conditions attached . The shepherd and the woman looked for the lost, the lost sheep, the lost coin does not come looking for the shepherd or the woman.