Lost & Found
The basket of misplaced items at church overflows. Excellent travel mugs, scarves, reading glasses, an extra large jacket. Do people not miss what they have lost? Or not know where to search?
A friend recounted finding their favorite shorts. The perfect fit, and the shoes to match, had been missing for months. They thought them gone forever. Joyful return!
Luke tells the story of two men who had lost something precious. And how Jesus helped them regain it. One named by his disability and (lack of) economic status. The other rich. Capable of running and climbing. With a big house and the ability to host large parties.
Today I recognized this asone story. Of loss and return. Two men in one city, separated in life by social status, and in Luke’s text by a chapter heading and a big number 19. Two people who wanted to see.
Lately my quiet coffee mornings have been interrupted between the Psalms and the gospel passage. My Bible, notebook, and pen lie waiting on the table. But I usually can’t make my way back until the next day’s lectionary reading. Today I found both sleep and time, enabling the narrative spanning chapter 18 and 19 to be reconnected.
So the blind man, the rich man, and the Nazarene came together unexpectedly in Jericho.
Bartimaeus didn’t know Jesus was coming. Hearing the crowd, he made a game-time decision to shout out, and keep asking, to regain what he had lost. Zaccheus knew. He anticipated Jesus’ route. Ran ahead and put himself in position. What did he want? He also wanted to see.
Did he dare desire more? He did not shout out. Did not (need to?) demand notice. But Jesus took time with each of them. To grant sight and restore them to community.
The crowd was not interested in either of these men finding what they needed. They told the blind man to be quiet. They grumbled that Jesus ate at the rich man’s house. But Jesus wants us to see:
“Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:9b-10 (CEB)
Why do I need to see these two interactions with Jesus as one story? I am still contemplating Kevin’s teaching about images. What artists see and communicate as true. As representations. How Jesus was an image of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 7) As confounding as Picasso’s Glass. And how we image Jesus.
Luke gives us two pictures of lost being found. To help us see different ways of being restored. To be the person created to be. To regain place in community. To more fully inhabit humanity through the gift of Jesus.
What have we lost that needs to be restored? (In)sight that affects us individually and our ability to participate wholly in community. What are we seeking? Perhaps we need to call out. To want. Perhaps we need to run ahead and prepare, anticipating where Jesus is headed.
May we, too, see Jesus. Whether we are down on the road begging, or up above the rest. May we make way for others to get to Jesus. And not grumble when Jesus resides with the unworthy. May we be found and restored.
Order of Service: 11/17
Sermon: Life with Images of Perfection (Hebrews)