Lost and Found

September 15, 2019

No one wants to be alone and lost.  Yet there are a couple of different kinds of being lost.  One is when we are left behind or we miss the train, appointment or connection.  This we sometimes do not have control over.  In the moment when we are not where we are supposed to be the feeling of being lost and the thought of what are we going to do next is instant and usually short-lived.  I have a navigational system on my car and when I miss the turn it redirects me.  It takes a moment to recalculate and then it gives me new directions.  A second kind of lost is when we do not know where to turn.  We find ourselves in a situation or predicament.  We know we need to seek help, we might even Google it, but we are lost.  It can be a loss for words.  It can be a loss that leads to pain because of disappointment.

The loss we hear about in the Gospel is much deeper.  It is not about losing cell service or dropping a call.  It is about an aloneness.  Sometimes this happens by our own choosing.  Sometimes we test relationships and want the other to jump through hoops or knock down walls to find us.  We all want to be found.  When the deepest sense of being lost hits us, the feeling of isolation takes the lead.  It challenges us and sometimes rattles our confidence.  When we are lost and have to become self-reliant, at times all of our insecurities have more power.  We have to fight that danger.

A few years ago I shared a song by Alicia Cara with the Confirmation students on retreat.  I was captivated by a few of the lyrics.  One states “there is no better you than the you that you are.”  That confidence comes from self-acceptance.  When we get lost and off track, we need to allow ourselves to be found by the Good Shepherd.  We need to allow ourselves to be seen as worthy of the Shepherd’s energy.  When we realize the depth of God’s fingerprint on our soul, we realize we will be found,. God will not abandon us no matter how deep the sin is, no matter how well protected we are by our own erroneous thinking.  The Savior, the Shepherd takes the time to find us because God deems us as necessary for the Kingdom.  This happens despite our wounds, darkness and sinfulness.  The aloneness of isolation can stir up demons, yet the Savior with all of the grace of divine energy will find us.  Being true to this call, being true to this reality can at times break through our isolation and come to our rescue.  We are beautiful just the way we are, even when we are lost.  There is no better you than the you that you are and God loves that you and who you are.

In the second part of the Gospel we hear the story we all know, the Prodigal Son and the loving father.  In this parable the child chooses to be lost, chooses to go his own way.  Yet he finds it within himself to return.  His journey of being lost is self-inflicted, yet he finds a way to connect with all he had left.  He knew that even the servants in his father’s house were supported and loved, so he returns.  Being lost can cause us to gain perspective.  The Prodigal reconnected and it propels him to try.  The father runs to greet him and we know the rest of the story.  We will always find God, but most importantly God will always find us.  He has created us for the joy of eternal life.  Let’s find that joy!

Reverend  John J. Ouper