Reflections on lost and found: parables from Luke 15 (lost sheep & coin)

When my soul was in the lost-and-found
You came along to claim it.
 — Carole King

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home. — Rumi

Questions prompted by Luke 15: 1-11 (parables of lost sheep and coin)

  • What is precious that you have lost?
  • What has been lost, then found or reclaimed, in your life?
  • Who or what serves as a guide in your life?
  • To what flock do you belong?
  • If you found what was most precious and significant, after it was missing, with whom would you choose to celebrate? And how?

Lost & Found

We tiptoed the tops of beaver dams, hopped hummocks, went wading, looked at spring flowers, tried to catcha snake, got lost and found. How fine it was to move at a meandery, child’s pace. — David Sobel

Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself. — Thich Nhat Hanh

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. — Dalai Lama

The wind passing over his unscarred face was cold from the snow of the surrounding mountains … and relished life as if … tasting it for the first time. The longing it brought, and the desire. All the bitterness, all the sweetness, even if it was only for a while, never for more than a while, everything gained and lost, lost and found again. — Cornelia Funke

In these two parables that he offers at the beginning of Luke 15—the parables of the search for the lost sheep and the woman’s finding of her lost coin—Jesus provides vivid images that depict God’s penchant for searching out what is lost in order to reclaim it and restore it to wholeness … These parables remind us that redemption is always God’s work, God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The most we can do is turn ourselves Godward—and the act of turning lies at the Greek root of the word for repentance, metanoia—and pray that in our turning, we will—like a sheep, like a coin—be unlost. Be unhidden. Be found. These parables call us also to remember that redemption does not, cannot, happen in isolation. Redemption restores us to the community and continually challenges us to work toward the flourishing of those whose lives are bound together with ours. Yet while God continually pulls us toward community, redemption is not about conformity: being restored to the circle does not mean thinking or acting or looking like everyone else, and making all our pieces look the same. Repentance and redemption invite us instead to discern what we have to offer, what distinctive gifts God has placed within us that no one else can bring, the pieces that, when brought together with the richness of the pieces that others offer, transform the brokenness of the world into a pattern of beauty. And when this happens, as Jesus illuminates in these parables—when what is broken and lost is restored and redeemed—it is worth a celebration. Is not complete, in fact, until some rejoicing gets under way. — Jan Richardson


Lost Coins

You already have the gold coins beneath you, of presence, creativity, intimacy, time for wonder, and nature, and life. Oh, yeah, you say? And where would those rascally coins be? … It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day. — Anne Lamott

Jesus likens God to the woman searching for a precious coin. The woman finds the lost coin and rejoices. Like this woman, God longs for us and searches for us when we are lost and in pain. When we are found by God, we gain new insight into the meaning of God’s love. — Laura Hammel

Sheep & Shepherd   The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty. — Abraham Lincoln
The human being is not the lord of beings, but the shepherd of Being. — Martin Heidegger
  The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same. — Stendhal

There was a shepherd the other day up at Findon Fair who had come from the east by Lewes with sheep, and who had in his eyes that reminiscence of horizons which makes the eyes of shepherds and of mountaineers different from the eyes of other men.
― Hilaire Belloc

Christ’s flock is made up of sheep that not only listen to their shepherd, but are also able to recognize his voice, to follow him, faithfully and with full awareness, on the pastures of eternal life. — Pope John XXIII

God is the good shepherd who goes looking for the lost sheep. God is the woman who lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and searches everywhere for her lost coin until she has found it. God is not the patriarch who stays home, doesn’t move, and expects his children to come to him, apologize for their sinful behavior, beg for his forgiveness, and promise to do better. God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, and begs and urges them to come home. It might sound strange, but God wants to find us as much, if not more, than we want to find God. — Henri Nouwen

Because no amount of this rebellion and smallness and bigness and self-sorrow can ever change our belongingness to our shepherd. None of it. And none of the ways we seek belongingness to lesser shepherds and wolves can ever change our true belongingness to the Good Shepherd. Because in reality, when we wander off and try and get our needs met through all the wrong ways and allow others to be our shepherd and when we are dumb and let the wolves in and when we do all the other things sheep just do, well, it doesn’t mean we are not worthy to have a good shepherd, it just makes it all that much better news that we have a good shepherd. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Walking for Causes: Faith on the Move

Church & Community Event: JEN’S FRIENDS HILL CLIMB
8-9:30am – Register / 10am – Hike Mt Cranmore /10:45-Noon – Entertainment at top of mtn / Noon – 1:30pm – Lunch, entertainment at base of mtn. Walk-in or Register Online. Pam & Fred Tompkins will be climbing for JCC; join the ad-hoc church team to climb together!

Church & Community Event: ALZHEIMER’S WALK
8 am – Register/Checkin / 9am – Ceremony / 9:30am – Walk begins
• York Beach Ball Field, Railroad Avenue, York Beach, ME
Register to walk or support JCC’s Eagle’s Rest team

THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town

MON, Sept 9 – SUN, Sept 15

MON, Sept 9

  • Community Service: WAY STATION SHIFTS
    9am & 5pm • Way Station, 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Volunteers from JCC work “adult” and “family” shifts at Way Station. To indicate interest in becoming a volunteer with this program, please contact the Way Station.

TUE, Sept 10

  • MISSION TEAM
    3pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meet to review funding local and international missions and consider recommendations for responses to Hurricane Dorian. Open to all friends and members interested in missions supported by JCC. RSVP to Linda Hastings for updates about time of meeting.
  • Community Event: CANNON MOUNTAIN BIRD TRIP
    7am – 3pm • Meet @ Grants parking lot, Glen, NH
    Take the Cannon Mountain Tramway to the 4,180 foot summit in search migrating raptors, songbirds, and boreal specialists such as boreal chickadees, Bicknell Thrush and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, as well as enjoy the alpine flora and terrific views of the Franconia ridgeline. Cost: $17, 65+ free. More info.
  • COMMUNITY CARE TEAM
    4pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meeting to identify friends and members in particular need of visits and extra support. If you know of someone in the community who needs home visits, emotional support or more connection to the community, please pass along their names to Meg Phillips, so we can reach out.
  • Community Event: ADULT BOOK GROUP
    4:30pm • Jackson Public Library
  • Multi-Church Event: INSPIRED – WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY
    6:30pm • North Conway Community Center
    Come with your copy of the Inspired book and your own study Bible if you have one (we will bring extra Bibles for reference). Ministers Gail Doktor, Sue Davidson and Ruth Shaver  facilitate these weekly gatherings.

WED, Sept 11

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish House. Fitness class. Free; open to public.
    Stretching and fitness workouts with certified fitness coach Laurie McAleer. Exercises can be adjusted to individual needs.
  • Community Event: 9/11 OBSERVANCE
    8:30am • Schouler Park, North Conway, NHResumes next week. Instructor is on Star Island retreat. Per Conway Sun: “Army veteran and  state Rep. Steve Woodcock of American Legion Post 95 will conduct the annual 9/11 Memorial Service in North Conway’s Schouler Park, set to begin promptly at 8:46 a.m. Community members, guests to the valley and members of our Emergency Response Teams (firefighters, police and EMTs) are requested to form at the park at 8:30 a.m. The service will begin exactly at 8:46 a.m. to coincide with the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. MWV clergy members, led by minister Sue Davidson, will participate.”
  • PASTOR-PARISH TEAM
    3pm • Jackson COmmunity Church
    Meeting to lay out staff review and feedback process for annual pastoral review. Closed meeting; feedback will be solicited this autumn through an inclusive process that engages all friends and members who wish to participate.
  • Community Event: JACKSON FREEDOM WALK
    5pm • Covered Bridge
    Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual “America Supports You — Freedom Walk” Procession set to begin at the Jackson Covered Bridge Route 16 side. Walk will commence immediately following a few words from invited guests, a moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem sung by Dallas Bell promptly at 5:30 p.m. The first 40 people to sign in will receive a complimentary T-shirt and American Flag. Rev Gail attends.

THURS, Sept 12

  • Cancelled this week only: YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • 1st Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church.
  • Community Service: WAY STATION HOURS
    9am & 5pm • Way Station, 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Volunteers from JCC work “adult hour” shifts at Way Station. To indicate interest in becoming a volunteer with this program, please contact the Way Station.
  • Community Event: TODDLER STORYTIME
    10:30am • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: FALL WARBLER BIRD WALK
    8-10am • Meet at Jackson XC Ski Touring parking lot on Valley Cross Road, Jackson. All birders welcome. Bring your binoculars or borrow ours.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

SAT, Sept 14

  • Church & Community Event: JEN’S FRIENDS HILL CLIMB
    8-9:30am – Register / 10am – Hike Mt Cranmore /10:45-Noon – Entertainment at top of mtn / Noon – 1:30pm – Lunch, entertainment at base of mtn. Walk-in or Register Online. Pam & Fred Tompkins will be climbing for JCC; join the ad-hoc church team to climb together!
  • Church & Community Event: ALZHEIMER’S WALK
    8 am – Register/Checkin / 9am – Ceremony / 9:30am – Walk begins
    • York Beach Ball Field, Railroad Avenue, York Beach, ME
    Register to walk or support JCC’s Eagle’s Rest team
  • Community Event: ECOFORUM – CHALLENGES and BENEFITS of SINGLE-SORT RECYCLING Noon • Nature Learning Center, Albany
    EcoMaine, a waste disposal and recycling company, has been offering single-sort recycling since 2006. Learn how this process works as well as new challenges they’ve encountered with the changing face of the recycling industry.

SUN, Sept 15

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Gazebo by Historical Society
    Come for poetry, prayer and conversation.
  • YOUTH & FAMILY KICKOFF EVENT
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    RSVP to confirm participation in autumn games & learning.
  • WORSHIP
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie
  • Community Event: MOUNTAIN TOP MAJESTIC GALA
    5pm • Stone Mountain Arts, Brownfield, ME
    Featuring pianist Michael Arnowitt and his ImproVisions Jazz Quintet. $100/pp. More info and reservations.