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12th July 2020

ARE you worth it?

Passage: Luke 15; 3-10


Our young people did some lively, up to date dramatic presentations on the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

OK. The Bad News is that, sooner or later, we all know what it is to be lost.
Maybe in a car or on a hike, realising that we have taken a wrong turning and are miles from where we want to be.
Maybe with friends or in relationships that are not working, thinking. “I don’t want to be with these people.”
Maybe feeling that we are in the wrong job or that we are not turning out to be the kind of people we would like to be.
We think, “ Somehow I have lost my way.”

There is a cartoon is of two people in a car right on the edge of a tall cliff made of ice. And the one is saying to the other “according to the Satnav, we should be just turning into Basingstoke High Street.”
Satnavs are not 100% reliable and sometimes it seems as though our “life” satnavs have led us wrong and taken us to places where we did not want to be.

The Good News is that we can usually get back to the right place. Life has opportunities to make U turns after we have lost our way. But we may need a lot of help: like a new SatNav; or wise advice; or strong support. Because we do not want to get lost all over again.

Right now, I guess that most of us are feeling a bit lost. Everything about our lives changed in March. No school, no going to work, no travel, no meeting people, no church and we have ended up in places we never wanted to be. Nor does it look as though we are going to get back to where we do want to be any time soon.
And even though our Government seem to be doing their best to help, they do not always get it right. Which makes us scared, frustrated and angry because that is how being lost makes you feel.

I cannot offer any simple answers. I cannot even produce a miracle SatNav…. But those two stories Jesus told about things which were lost each have a message which is worth remembering.

In the story of the Lost Sheep, the shepherd is out looking for it. He did not leave it to find its own way back. He searched until he found it.
So, if the sheep are about us and the shepherd is about God, then Jesus is telling us that God is not sitting up in heaven saying, “ if you are good and clever enough you will find your way here.” God is out there, coming to look for us. And he is not coming to tell us off for getting lost. He is coming to give us a big hug, pick us up and help us back to a good place.
That is what Jesus is telling us about God.
That is what Jesus did himself- came to find people who had lost their way.
And that is what millions of people will tell you has happened to them: that God has come to find them and bring them into a good place.
Hold onto that….

In the story of the lost coin, a woman throws a party to celebrate finding her coin. This, said Jesus, is just how the angels celebrate when God finds someone who was lost.
I don’t know what you think about angels. There are still lots of pictures and models of them. Some people say that there is an angel in each of us; some like to think of those they loved, who died, now being angels to watch over them; in the Bible, angels bring messages from God to human beings.

I don’t know, but what I hear Jesus saying in this story is that there is a tremendous power in life which celebrates when people end up in the right place; there is something mighty out there which wants us to be happy;
and that life is not-as it sometimes feels- automatically out to hurt us, mislead us, force us into the wrong places.
And this belief that happiness and goodness are what life should be all about and that God himself is on our side is what keeps people committed to finding cures for disease, help for those in need; justice for innocent victims; faith communities for those looking for a place to meet with the God who is looking for them. We still believe that yes, we ARE worth it.

So, thanks to all of you who have created this service. Two great stories to remember and to inspire us through the week ahead.
And just to finish- here are some boys helped by their Beaver leaders to keep happy, keep good and keep celebrating life. A short video was now shown of the Beavers enjoying various activities such as craftwork, gardening, cooking, building at home.