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Unity of Rehoboth Beach – The Lost Parables May 22, 2016

GOOD MORNING BELOVED!

 

A new business was opening and one of the owner’s friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion.

They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, “Rest in Peace.”

The owner was angry and called the florist to complain.

After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied, “Sir, I’m really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry you should imagine this. Somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, ‘Congratulations on your new location!

 

Parables Pt. 2 The Lost Parables

 

When I was younger, much younger, about 13-14 years old, maybe, my family along with several Aunts and Uncles and their families were at the beach, North Wildwood is where we went several times as a group.  You know, rented a house a few blocks from the beach, each family had a couple of turns at cooking dinner for the whole gang, we’d spend the day by the water and a few evenings on the Boardwalk, riding rides, eating treats and exploring the shops. Our family was very grateful for an Aunt & Uncle who were pretty well to do.

Well, my youngest brother, Frank, was about 2 or 3 and just getting around on his own, but usually in a stroller.  As my Mother and the others, would venture in a shop someone was in charge of the little ones. 

One time it was my Father, he was to keep an eye on Frank who was out of the stroller at the time, but always close by someone in the large group of people.

Well, you guessed it, somehow he wandered off without being noticed and was ‘lost’.

Of course we were all frantic looking for him and finally, after some time had passed, I recalled a playground we had pasted by and went there, and there he was.  I’m not sure if HE thought he was lost…

After all, not all who are searching are lost.  He may have just been searching for that one more time on the swing!

SO,

Why tell a story of my wandering little brother…because today we look at some of the “Lost Parables”…parables about losing something of value and then finding it.

Most parables, there is only one point, just one ‘central lesson’ by traditional standards.  But when we add metaphysics to it, it becomes something much more.  And I always like to remind you, that what it means to YOU is the most important thing.

The word parable comes from Greek, meaning ‘to place beside or side by side for the purpose of comparison’.  This was the method of teaching Jesus used most often.

The ‘Lost Parables’ are The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son, or the Prodigal Son, as most refer it.

We will look at the Lost Coin and The Lost Sheep today.  The Lost Son has much to be shared and needs its own lesson.

The Parable of ‘The Lost Sheep’ is the first member of this trilogy about redemption that Jesus tells after the Pharisees and religious leaders accuse him of welcoming and eating with “sinners.”

Here’s what it says:

Read Luke 15:1-7

 

So we can readily see that the story is saying how important even one of us is to God.  And traditionally, that is how we have been brought up to understand this story.

Metaphysically, though, we are to look beyond the story for even more, deeper meanings.

In his Metaphysical Bible Dictionary Charles Fillmore writes that sheep represent harmless and innocent animals; they represent the natural life that flows into our consciousness from Spirit. It is pure, innocent, guileless, and when we open our mind to this realization of Spirit life we open the gate by the sheep market. This is where sheep and goats are separated.

 

The separation of goats from sheep is a mental process wherein the good, obedient, and profitable thoughts (sheep) are retained (placed on the right hand, considered good in the Near East). The stubborn, selfish, useless thoughts (goats) are put away (placed on the left hand, considered evil in the Near East).

 

According to Rev. Ed Townley, “In this passage Jesus has just told his disciples that they must “become like children” to enter the new consciousness he describes as the kingdom of heaven. That’s not the final step into kingdom consciousness; it’s the first. In becoming like children we release any accumulation of fear-based thought energy; we let go of “knowing what we know”; we return to the spiritually empowered thoughts with which we enter into these human experiences.”

“Those childlike thoughts may become scattered and lost through the dramas and challenges of our human lives. But the shepherd within us—the Christ Presence—will always be able to patiently gather them and bring them together, so that the creative Power we are here to express can become the only energy in which we live our lives.”

 

Now the Lost Coin….

Read Luke 15:8-10      

Traditionally, the lost sheep or coin represents a lost human being.  Again, that’s Traditionally.  Let’s look at this parable a bit more.

 

Joel B. Green, New Testament scholar and Dean of the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, notes that the woman described is likely, a poor peasant, and the ten silver coins, corresponding to ten days’ wages, “likely represent the family savings.”  The coins may also have been the woman’s dowry, worn as an ornament.  Both theories may be true, and either one explains the urgency of the woman’s search, and the extent of her joy when the missing coin is found.

this woman was desperate! She turned over her whole house, in the hope of finding her lost coin: it was very important to her!  The woman does not take a lax attitude towards her lost possession.

We can imagine the heart of this woman skipping a beat and her gasping with shock when she learns the coin is missing. Has she mislaid it or dropped it? Has someone taken it? This was enough to send a person into a panic. Where could it be?

 

A typical house of that time had a few small slits for windows or no windows at all, so that there was little light. To search for the lost coin requires more light. Oil for a lamp is not cheap, and she normally saves it for the night. But she must find that coin.

 

The search is on. Out comes her broom, and carefully she begins a systematic and thorough search. Across the packed-earth floor and under mats and pottery vessels she searches. Nothing shows up. Again she goes back over the same area but from a different angle, the light from the lamp casting different shadows this time.

 

Just as she is about to end the second sweep without any success she sees a small glimmer. There it is! The coin is found! Quickly she picks it up and blows away the dust. Yes, she exclaims: “There you are! I thought you were gone, never to be found!”

 

She rushes out of her house calling to her neighbors: “Come, rejoice and celebrate with me! The coin I lost has been found!” Life is once again normal and peaceful.

 

SO we have a parable of a man losing one sheep out of a hundred and goes to find it, leaving the 99 to fend for themselves.

And we have a woman losing a coin and searching until she finds it throughout her home, using precious oil to search.

In each instance, God or the Christ is represented by the person who lost something.

Jesus is comparing this woman to God and the coin to the one who has ‘missed the mark.’  A fairly brave thing to do back in the day, comparing God to a woman.

The shepherd celebrates with his friends and family but she celebrates with the other women.  Women again mentioned in relationship to God, Spirit, importance.

 

These are parables that Jesus gives as He tries to defend Himself against the Pharisees and their condemnation of His interest in the tax collectors and “sinners”. Jesus was seeking out these sinful people and was making a difference in their lives. The Pharisees saw this and were offended and condemned Jesus for even eating with these type of people.  Jesus wants the religious leaders to understand God’s attitude about those who have missed the mark and those that are lost.

To the Pharisees, Jesus was actually rebuking them, saying: “How dare you say that I can’t mix with tax collectors and sinners. These people know that they have not led a good life: these are the ones that need to be brought back to the flock. They are the one lost sheep of the one hundred. They are the lost coin of the ten. How dare you judge me? I am here for them.”

The Pharisees of all people should have been rejoicing with Jesus! The disenchanted wanderers are finding home again. Instead, they griped and complained. They were sheep that had never left the fold, but their heart was far from the shepherd. They were like a lost coin, still at home, but nevertheless lost and out of spiritual circulation.  It forces upon us the question, “Do I have something lost at home, something out of spiritual circulation?”

Perhaps better, “Is someone lost at home or in my extended family?” Is someone lost in your home through inattentiveness and neglect? Is someone lost in your home — that you have taken for granted?

Being lost in these parables means being away from safety and in a place of danger; it means being uninformed about a better way to live; it means not serving God for all the wrong reasons.

I think here I would add lost is being Spiritually Immature, as we mentioned last week.

“Lost” is also being where you’re not supposed to be. “Lost” does not really know where you belong, or how to get there. “Lost” is having no valid point of reference outside of “self.”

“Lost” is waking up one day and realizing that among your most valuable treasures on earth, among your family members, there is one who is lost and out of spiritual circulation.

 

So we see, the Pharisees did not complain that Jesus is teaching ‘sinners’. Since the Pharisees thought themselves to be righteous teachers of the law and all others to be wicked, they could not condemn His preaching to “sinners,” but they thought it was inconsistent with the dignity of someone so knowledgeable in the Scriptures to “eat with them.” The presupposition behind the statement of the Pharisees, “this man welcomes sinners,” is what Jesus addresses in both parables.

Maybe this is another reason we like our Fellowship so well?  We do not mind ‘eating with sinners’ since we all miss the mark at one time or another.

The picture we get from Jesus is that each and every person is very important to Divine Spirit, our Creator.  Every relationship with God is important. YOU are important.

And these parables are about the restoration of lost relationships—ultimately God seeking out human beings who were lost and bringing them back into a loving relationship.

But we should also recognize that our Creator desires us to see the importance of relationships with other people and striving to reconcile and restore fellowship with them.

Maybe it’s time to reach out and mend a relationship.  Maybe it’s time to heal.

 What’s your 1 coin?  Who is your ‘lost sheep’?


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