But my dad and grandfather kept showing them to me with the thought that one day I would eventually appreciate them and would want to watch them because I actually liked them. My dad tried the same thing with golf. It never worked with golf but it worked with westerns. If I remember right, the first one that really impacted me was a John Wayne movie from 1956. It was called The Searchers. It’s about a man who’s niece has been kidnapped by an Indian tribe and his search to find her. I think was struck me the most, and still sticks with me now, is the timeline of the movie. I was used to movies where all the action happened over a few hours or maybe a day or two but The Searchers takes place over years and years. JW never stops looking for this girl. All the time we are told that he is doing this for honor and maybe some other not so pleasant reasons of his own. And when the time comes that she is finally found, we see that deep down within The Searcher, what drove him, wasn’t honor or duty or hatred of his enemy. When he grabs her in his arms and hugs her, we see that he searched all those years for one reason and one reason alone…
We have seen in the recent past how God views our worry and how that relates to our worth.
We have seen how God views the idea of family in his kingdom.
We have seen what God thinks the role of his church should be in meeting the needs of the community around it.
And in Luke 15, we have continuation of Christ’s great and powerful view of how the Fulfilled Kingdom of God and this world mix.
Here we have a God who values that which is lost. Over rocky crags, in the depths of caves, through dangerous valleys. No quit until what was lost has been found- such is the love of our God for his creation- all of it. And what has not created by God? And once found, retracing the treacherous terrain with a sheep over his shoulders, carrying it all the back to the flock.
This is not some Deist God or God looking down from heaven or God simply watching over us like that terrible song. This is not that God. This is an active God. A determined God. A God with a purpose.
Jesus came “to seek and save that which was lost.”
I wonder how often we think of God being tenacious.
The story doesn’t tell us how long the searcher looked for the coin or the sheep? What must have gone through the mind of the other sheep while the shepherd was off after that one troublesome sheep? What was so special or different anyway about that sheep? Did it even deserve to be looked for? Wouldn’t it just run off or get lost again? Maybe one or two of the “good” sheep even began to ask if God was such a good shepherd, why the sheep got lost in the first place.
And something like that always makes me question when, in my life, I have been the lost sheep, the lost coin. When have I been one of the 99? Did I wonder those things about that stray? Did I wonder those things about my God?
And when the Shepherd returns from the journey, from the rescue mission– Rejoicing.
No separating the sheep in another special pen. No placing the coin in a high-security double-locked safe. Both folded back in with the others. And there was rejoicing for it.
When the community of God can come to a place that welcomes in the one who was lost with pure and adulterated joy. What a thing.
And what an insight into the will of God- that none should perish but that all should be saved.
Scripture says the devil roams to and fro seeking whom he may devour. Somebody here, somebody there. Here is, for all to see, an un-content God; an active God; a searching God. A God who isn’t just hoping to stumble upon a sheep here or a coin there.
A God balancing our free will against his finding the demise of even one of us unacceptable.
That’s a dichotomy I’m still trying to work out.
And if our Father is a never-ending searcher, shouldn’t we be also? If Christ was constantly trying to show us the way the Kingdom is, and therefore, how the Father is, can we accept ourselves as anything different?
How do we continue to look past our worries and fears?
How do we strive to look farther and farther until we can see the Kingdom of God like Christ saw it?
How do we search?