Rev. Cedric A. Broughton

Importance of one lost sheep

Published Apr 14, 2018 at 4:00pm

Easter is past for another year now. For some people, that means taking a break from church. Our high holy day is past!

Plus, the weather is getting warmer and after the winter we’ve had, folks want to get out and enjoy a walk or a bit of recreation during the weekends.

Going to church becomes less of a priority for a lot of people in our society. Is that wise?

In the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells three parables that are familiar even to those who do not attend church regularly. The first one tells of a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep (presumably somewhere safe) to search for one of the flock that has wandered off.

When he finds that one animal he brings it back to the flock and asks his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him. The second parable is about the lost coin a woman searches her home diligently to find. The third parable is the famous “prodigal son” story.

All three are seen by many as focusing on God’s great love for us — so great that He will search high and low for one lost lamb or a lost coin — and welcome back a son who had left Him for a “wild life.”  

God’s love for us is indeed great and we can be thankful that He is so willing to be merciful. But there is another aspect of the first parable that strikes me. Can you imagine how important it was for that one lost sheep to be found?

Being apart from the flock would have meant that it could very well have eventually fallen down without being able to get back up. Or it could have become dinner for a wolf or lion or human predator. Or it could have just become injured and lived in pain till it died.

In any case, being apart from the flock was bad news for that one sheep. Frankly, nothing good could happen to it being apart from the flock.

The same thing is true for us human beings. We need each other. Very few folks can make it in “solitary confinement.”  

Now there are all sorts of “flocks” in our world. Some are called clubs, some are called gangs, some are called unions, some are called political parties, and some are called churches.

While I would not say that belonging to most of these flocks is a bad thing (gangs can be suspect), I would suggest to you that the best “flock” to be a member of (and regular participant in) is the flock called the church.

Remember that Jesus is the head of the Church – and Jesus knows best what is best for us. And that best is communicated in the worship and teaching of the gathered community of saints we call the local church. In that community we have the best chance to be taken care of – to have our wounds attended to – to be kept secure in a world abounding with predators.

So please do not neglect the regular gathering together of those who are followers of the Risen Christ! See you in church all through the year!