Lost, and found again – 13th Sunday after Trinity 2022
Jesus tells the parable of the hundred sheep, the ninety-nine in the shepherd’s care and the one who has wandered away and become lost.
The Pharisees and the scribes were quite certain, totally reassured, without any doubt, that they were the ninety-nine and that those of whom they so readily disapproved were the lost. No doubt there are some Christians today, equally convinced that they stand in the full and enduring glow of God’s approval, that they are the elect, the favoured ones, the ones who are certain and guaranteed and secure. But if we are honest, and have true spiritual humility, which of us, can be in any doubt that oftentimes we are in fact the one? Hoping against hope to be found – calling out here I am, please find me – bring me home!
It has become a cliche to say that Advent is a time of preparation, especially as we so often seem to prepare for the expected rather than the unexpected. But what does it even mean to prepare? Are we being invited to make temporary and external arrangements, are the changes to be practical, visible but extrinsic? Is this to be but a brief hiatus before we return, once more, to ’normal’? Or are we being invited on a journey of transformation that is essentially intrinsic, perhaps even private and invisible to others, but which for us helps to uncover and discover our true selves, the true ‘us’ inside. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he called us to life ‘in all its fullness’?
Due to illness – this week we have a short video meditation.
For the festival of Christ the King, this poem entitled ’The Kingdom’ was written by R.S. Thomas 1913-2000.
Today we make an act of commemoration but not celebration; we hold in our prayers those who have died and suffered in two world wars, in countless regional conflicts since, and in peace-keeping duties across the world. We mourn their loss and their suffering; the failure of politics and diplomacy that led to their sacrifice on the altar of human pride, obstinacy and indifference, and we also confess the darkness in our own hearts that all too often gives way to anger and seeks retribution. We pray that humanity may, before it is too late, consign war to the sins of history, and instead walk the ways of conciliation and peace.