Readings: Philippians 3:3-8a; Luke 15:1-10
In purely logical terms, Jesus’ parables can seem exaggerated. Would a shepherd really leave ninety-nine sheep just to look for one? Would a woman turn her house upside down to find one coin? Well, since the ninety-nine sheep would tend to stay together, or if I’m poor enough, every coin counts, there’s a logical reply to the objections.
On another level–a non-rational level–these stories make compelling sense. Don’t we really grasp the value of someone or something when we’ve lost them? In fact, the loss will get us into gear to recover what–or whom– we’ve previously taken for granted.
That said, the logic is still askew, isn’t it? We’re talking about God, after all!
Granted, a parable is metaphorical, but how can Jesus even suggest that God experiences loss?
However, aren’t we all old enough to admit from life-experience how relentlessly, how meticulously, how patiently God does track us down, turns our lives and hopes upside done to find us and claim us? What’s going on?
Jesus is underlining the trajectory of the Jewish Scriptures: God searches for us to restore us to that living relationship with God. Not because God needs us but because God is relationship. God is Trinity. That’s the deep revelation in Jesus Christ as the self-revelation of God: God is relationship and that includes us.