Summary: PENTECOST 15, YEAR C - A 911 Sermon - God never stops searching for the lost and the dead. When he finds one he raises them to new life in Christ. Let us rejoice

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Scores of tiny figures moving up and down the rubble, here and there, back and forth, It’s hard to see the ground beneath them, their numbers blanket the terrain. Like an army of ants they work and work and work as if they will never stop. A slab here,a girder there, moving mountains by their labors. All their labors with one purpose driving them, searching, searching, searching. They are searching for the lost. On September 11th the city of New York lost several high rise buildings, most of their first response fire and rescue vehicles, and an endless number of computers, cars, and business records. But those who labor there, at ground zero, are not searching for computers. They are not digging for lost fire trucks. They are seeking, with all their strength, for their lost comrades, for missing loved ones, for the humans lost whether they are living or dead. In today’s passage we read about a God who is on a never ending search for the lost and missing. God is like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep, a woman searching for a lost coin, and God invites us “rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found”.

It is a time of great tragedy in our nation and we are shockingly reminded that most of what we value can be replaced. But that which we most take for granted once gone is forever missed. Here in the fifteenth chapter of Luke we find hope. We are reminded that God never forgets what is of true value. As you and I run about our daily lives consuming and accumulating, buying and collecting things that will one day decay and be thrown away. God is out searching, ever searching, searching, searching, for that which has been lost and must be found. Searching for that which too many consider of little regard. On Friday the painful decision was finally made in NY city to change from a search and rescue mission to that of a recovery operation. Hope of finding any of the remaining missing alive has given way to the heart wrenching resolution to recover the remaining dead. But we serve a God who has never given up. Who for ages beyond count has traveled the highways and byways ever searching for those counted dead. And finding joy in their return. Listen to the words of Christ,

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it.

How often have many of us, like sheep have become lost along our way. Gone astray from the path taught to us in Sunday School. Turned away from the guidance given to us by our parents. To find ourselves lost with no star to guide us home. Fear not, for God has set forth in search of us. Our heavenly Father will not stop his search until he has found us and brought us safely home again. Like a shepherd in search of a wayward lamb God is out there looking, looking, looking. Do you feel lost, not sure where you are in your life or how you got there. Do you long to find your way back home to God. Then be still, fear not. God is still searching and God will find you. He will lift you upon his shoulders like shepherd bears a lamb and he will joyfully carry you home.

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