the view from the pew 9-10-16

9-10-16 Susan and I weren’t supposed to be at Saturday service this weekend. We had planned to go to a music festival where our daughter, Marta, works the one weekend of the festival. I must have partied too much at Bible study the night before. We had a full house and the bacon, eggs, cool whip and pancakes were flowing freely. Bible study was one verse in Acts 2 and the rest was a quiz to test our knowledge of our fellow members. We ended with Luther’s evening prayer and topped it off with dessert and coffee. It’s the coffee that’ll getcha. The next morning, I was suffering and didn’t roll out of bed until noon. I called off the trip then napped from two to four. Susan threw a wet cat on me and got me ready for church at five.

For the second week in a row, the sound board manager was absent and I was pressed into service again. I agreed but only if the church would put his face on the back of the next day’s service folders with the caption, “Have you seen this sound man?” Pastor happily rejected my offer and I did the slides anyway.

Our songs were ably played by Paul. They were

Thee Will I Love My Strength, My Tower;

Open Our Eyes, Lord;

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us;

I Am Jesus’s Little Lamb;

Amazing Grace (for communion);

You Are My All in All.

All very pleasant songs, most of them easily sung. That is part of what makes Saturday service comfortable … unless you are sitting in the wrong spot when the sun reaches that awkward angle and beams on you. To quote Donald Trump: Not so good.

Pastor’s sermon was based on the Gospel reading of Luke 15:1-10, the parable of the lost sheep. Pastor said that it is best not to read too much into parables, that the lost sheep means this and only this, the 99 can only be these but not those, and the shepherd is Jesus and nobody else. He told a story of how his family went to a fair and his daughter became lost. After frantically searching for her they found her on a bench with a friend unaware of the commotion over her. To mom and dad, she was lost but to her, she was with her friend and not lost. She knew where she was. It’s all relative, even with relatives.

(that Einstein knew a thing or two about human nature)

The gist of the parable is that one sheep loses its way. With sheep being pretty dumb it doesn’t even realize it is lost. The shepherd leaves the 99 to fend for themselves since they don’t consider themselves lost. When the shepherd finds the one, he takes it home draped over his shoulders. He then calls his friends and throws a party. It’s at the party where God shows how much He loves you. The invitations, decorations, food, wine and songs all cost way more than the coin and the sheep and with the lost son, instead of demanding the wasted money back the father spends even more on his son to show his joy.

About 20 years ago I was that lost sheep. Jesus found me and carried me home. I’m happy to think there was a hootenanny in Heaven over my homecoming. Other times I have been the shepherd where I have helped someone along with their repentance and life with Christ. But most of the time I am one of the 99 who doesn’t think he needs to read the Bible and spend some time in deep prayer. I also stand there and think that someone else will check in on that guy who has fallen away. Maybe that’s what happened to the sound board guy. We can all be all three main characters in the play. We need to keep our heads poked up above the other sheep and watch for those who wander off. We are at our best when we show others “sheeply compassion”. Isn’t that what you want from those around you?

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