Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

A Tale of Two Halves

Luke 15 is one of the more famous chapters in the Bible, primarily because it contains the parable of the prodigal son, but the whole chapter goes together. In this chapter Jesus responds to objections by the scribes and Pharisees over who he is associating with by telling three stories. The three parables are all about a thing or person that is lost but is later found. We tend to hone in on the lost and found aspect of these parables, and rightly so, but is there something else to them? Is there something deeper that we may have missed or neglected? I believe so.

These three parables point to the two halves of God’s creation. There is heaven and there is earth. There is that which we see, feel, and touch every day, and there is that which is unseen. God’s creation consists of the visible and the invisible. The parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin both end with celebration in heaven. The celebration in heaven is to be lived out here on earth. We are called to imitate what is happening in heaven. What is taking place in heaven is how things are meant to be here on earth. This is why Jesus teaches us to pray for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

We are people of hope because we live out and imitate that which others cannot see. The church is different from the world because we are a little bit of heaven here on earth. We point people to a better future that is on the horizon. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom, citizens of heaven. We rejoice when God rejoices. We care about the things God cares about. We are concerned about the things God is concerned about. The church is not heaven, but we align ourselves as closely with heaven as we can. We reflect God’s reality to others. We live out what is happening in heaven to the best of our ability. This is what Jesus is calling us to do in these stories He tells in Luke 15.

It seems kind of strange that we can learn so much about God from a story about a lost sheep and a lost coin, but that’s the way God is. There are some things we will never be able to understand about God, but then there are some great and wonderful things we can learn about God if we simply read our Bibles and look around. We see the wonder of creation in a newborn child. We see a self sacrificing love when a mother hen lays down her life for her baby chicks (Luke 13:34). We see the majesty and awe of God in a powerful storm with lightning and thunder. And we see the joy of finding something that is lost when we happen to misplace something around the house and find it after a thorough search. To some people these things are not special at all. They are just a crying baby, a dirty farm animal, a noisy storm, and an inconvenience, but to us they are something different. Because we have eyes to see and ears to hear we catch glimpses of another reality, one that cannot be seen, but is just as real as the one we are living in. As Christians it is our job to help people open their eyes to what they cannot see. It is our responsibility to help the blind see, and assist the lost on their way back home.

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:1-10)

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