“THE PIECE WHICH WAS LOST HAS THE PEACE OF GOD”
Saint Luke 15. 1-10
3rd Sunday after Trinity: 6 July Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
Jesus always draws near. He approaches His own as well as those lost sheep that He wants in His sheepfold. Tax collectors and sinners appreciate His concern and charity. They accept on bended knees His mercy and gifts. But Pharisees, Scribes, and the hypocritical selves that “are you” murmur saying “this man receiveth people that are disgusting, and eats with them.” Hatred of the other is “hard wired” in the sinner from the “fall.” Not only was Luther correct when he said that man by nature is a schwermerai, i.e. an “enthusiast,” but man by nature is also a Manichean, i.e. a “dualist,” seeing everything in black & white, hero & villain; with himself as the good guy and every strange, foreign, and different thinking person as the bad guy—the enemy. Repent! Christians should not murmur or complain they should praise and give thanks. Christians should not gossip and criticize they should put the best construction on everything and build up their neighbor—putting him first. Christians should not constantly have their feelings hurt and luxuriate in grudges they should forgive and forgive and yes forget! No follower of the Christ should be mean, disagreeable or domineering—period!
For before you were brothers and sisters of Jesus you were all worse than prostitutes or lepers. Before you were rescued you were even more pathetic than breathing, mammalian lost sheep—you were inanimate and dead coinage; inert and useless, no better than bent slugs, because you were lost—gone!
But you were found by Jesus. He found you. His parable beautifully illustrates in its last section how you were found. You did not have the Rabbi from Nazareth approach you directly like He did Zacchaeus or Jairus. Jesus ascended to fill all things and to be the Head of His Body the Church. No matter how infected you are by the heresy of American independence and individualistic, atomistic hegemony, the truth of The Church remains the Truth. The Church is Christ’s way of His means of saving to take place. The woman in the parable is His Church—His pastors, His people, His Sacraments, His rites, rubrics, liturgy, His lections & hymnody, and His gifts and grace!
Yes the woman, the Church, has ten pieces of silver. Ten is the number of the Law. The commandments are the launching out point but not the destination. There is joy in obedience and service but for fallen man that will not be realized until heaven. The Law kills. The deposit is misused, not complied, buried and lost and despised. There is now rest and surcease in Christ only, for only Christ has obeyed and fulfilled the Ten Commandments. The coinage of work and duty has been all assembled and completed by Jesus: “Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” [SC pt 2] His Blood redeems lost silver. His Blood takes all the tarnish of trespass away. His Blood removes the irritant of sinful specks; of sand, dust and ash of original death, and turns the pearl into an organic living jewel! IT IS FINISHED. You the lost piece have been found. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church has found you for Christ has called you by The Holy Ghost through the Gospel. The Church is that family of Jesus where His Good News is spoken clearly and His Word attached to earthly elements is carried out according to His establishing. The Good News of Jesus’ sacrificial work and loving substitutionary death is proclaimed at this pulpit and this altar. The Holy woman, His spotless Bride, lights the candle which means she preaches only Jesus, “Christ crucified for the forgiveness of your sins!” The Church, His Body, sweeps constantly, or to use the Galilean fishing analogy, throws out the nets constantly. The sweeping is the broom of His words preached and shared by all of his bristles tied together in the unity and bond of Truth.
You now as part of that Holy virgin Body also diligently search and seek until you too have found all the lost coins that the Lord wants found. They may not be shining American gold-eagles…speaking perfect King’s English…but they are precious to God. Red and yellow black and white they are precious in His sight.
Friends, neighbors, Augsburgers, all those we desire to be with us, rejoice this morning with me and with the presence of angels, archangels and all the company of heaven for there is joy—the joy of Christ Jesus over repented sinners. The lost pieces are found. The lost pieces have been assembled into a community chest; a heaven-on-earth treasure trove of Peace…Peace In He Who is Peace.
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost