I often find myself getting emotional when I watch news reports of miners being rescued from a collapsed mine or a child rescued from a well. My emotional level begins to rise, not when I see the rescued persons emerge from their captivity, but when the rescuers and onlookers begin to applaud. I’ve always marveled at their rejoicing in the return of someone who was lost, but is now found and returned to their families, friends and the life of the community.
I am sure we all can identify with the feeling of loss. The loss of a loved one is a sharp pain that cuts us to the heart. It turns our world upside down; leaving us on an emotional rollercoaster. If we have ever had someone in our family who was gravely ill or injured – hovering between life and death, we know the joy we feel as they recover and are returned back to good health; to be among us in the family or the sadness we feel if they fail to recover.
I vividly remember that terrible feeling of loss when my family thought we had lost my sister in the World Trade Towers. For many agonizing hours we watched and worried, not knowing if she was among the living or the dead. We waited and prayed, never wanting to give up hope, but were plunged into despair every time we saw those endless videos of the ruins of the towers.
Finally, late in the evening of the terrible day - there was that glorious phone call that brought overwhelming relief and rejoicing – my sister Martha was alive!
Jesus speaks to us about loss in his parables – the loss of a sheep, the loss of a coin and today, the loss of a son. But instead of dwelling on the loss he tells us about the joy and rejoicing over that which was lost being found and returned to its rightful place: The sheep to the flock: the coin to the purse, the son to the father.
God so loves us that there is rejoicing in heaven when we are reconciled to him and returned to our heavenly family. The saints and angels leap with joy when one of God’s strayed children responds to his call and turns his face toward heaven and cries “Abba!”
No matter how far we have strayed or how deeply we have sinned, the Father is always ready to welcome us into his embrace; showering us with the finest he has to offer and holding us close to his heart.
His forgiveness and mercy is endless. We only have to ask and he forgives; welcoming us back into his kingdom. The only unforgivable sin is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – which is our turning away from God’s forgiveness. It is our pride or shame that keeps us from accepting God’s love and mercy – wrongfully thinking that we are unforgivable, unlovable and unwanted. This is so wrong, - so unnecessary – God loves us completely, we are his creation, - his children: made in his image - to joyfully be with him forever.
He wants us to return to him, for we are his own and He seeks us constantly – calling to us in the quiet of the night or in the roar of the day –
- at those times when we are most vulnerable and in need of his love and consolation
- or when we are full of ourselves and in need of his grace and humility.
God seeks us always, -- he is with us always - at the darkest moments of our lives, in tragedy, in suffering, in pain or on the brightest occasions – in triumph, in joy, in success – He is always there watching over us, loving us and calling us to rest in his embrace. For we are – now – always and forever – His beloved children
Deacon Don Ron