Ordinary Time (Proper 19)
Celebrate! The Lost Is Found
Exodus 32:7–14, Psalm 51:1–10, 1 Timothy 1:12–17, Mosiah 2:32, Doctrine and Covenants 161:7
Sharing Joys and Concerns
“When We Are Living (Pues si vivimos)” (stanzas 1 and 2) CCS 242
OR “The Peace of Jesus Christ” (stanza 1) CCS 317
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
God of all people, all races and nations, we thank you for our personal uniqueness. We glory in who we are and you have created us to strive to be the best that we can be. But alone, O God, we are not complete. We need you and one another. Help us as we try to create the peaceable kingdom in your name. We pray for our own sakes and for the world. Amen.
—Velma Ruch, Transformation: A New Creation in Christ
(Herald Publishing House, 2006, ISBN 9780830912315), 31.
“When We Are Living (Pues si vivimos)” (stanzas 3 and 4) CCS 242
OR “The Peace of Jesus Christ” (stanza 2) CCS 317
Additional ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the
Temple in Independence, Missouri, are on the church’s website as
Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Paul’s Confession and Profession: 1 Timothy 1:12–17
Hymn of Profession
“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” CCS 13
OR “Fairest Lord Jesus” CCS 33
God, we gather here today from many places and circumstances. Help us put aside our worries, lists, agendas, and busyness and be present with you and one another. For this brief time may we know the joy and peace that comes when we allow ourselves to be open to your Spirit. Amen.
Invite 10 people to the front of the sanctuary to represent the 10 coins in the story in Luke. Ask one of the people to hide somewhere in the church building. (If there are not 10 people, use 10 items and have someone hide one of the items.)
Have you ever lost something important to you? In the two stories we heard, a sheep and a coin were lost. If you lost one of your pets or some of your money, would you go and look for it? Would you spend hours, searching high and low for what had disappeared? We had 10 people (items), but one has disappeared. Let us search together for the person (item) who is lost.
Ask one or two from the congregation to search for the missing person (item). When the person (item) is found and brought back to the sanctuary, celebrate with the congregation singing “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah,” CCS 86, OR “I Will Sing, I Will Sing,” CCS 112, and create an atmosphere of celebration.
Based on Luke 15:1–10
Have two or three members of the congregation prepare testimonies about a time they felt lost or were questioning. Ask them to consider the following questions: What emotions did you have when you felt lost? What made you return to God? How has this experience changed you and your faith journey? Intersperse the testimonies with one or more of the following songs:
“Amazing Grace” CCS 19
OR “Meet Me in a Holy Place” CCS 162
OR “Dios está aquí (God Is Here Today)” CCS 150
Read the following meditation at a slow pace allowing time for the congregation to breathe deeply and connect with the words you are sharing.
Leader: I invite you to sit comfortably as we enter this time of meditation. As you close your eyes, relax your mind and take deep, slow breaths. Breathe in the love of God, breathe out any negativity you may be feeling. Breathe in love, breathe out negative thoughts.
Pause to enable people to focus on their breathing and then share the meditation text below. Read slowly and pause after each paragraph.
Leader: We celebrate today the lost being found, but we recognize our own need to wander and to question.
Breathe in acceptance of our searching, breathe out the fear associated with being lost.
We are thankful for the understanding of our journey and rejoice in the joy of worshiping together.Breathe in the joy and love of God, breathe out our worries and concerns.
We come to you today, God, with open hearts and minds to receive your love and to share your love with others. Breathe in courage, breathe out our hesitation to take the first steps.
May we generously share our story, our sacraments, and our blessings.
Disciples’ Generous Response
Scripture Reading: Mosiah 2:32
For additional ideas and resources, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
Hymn of Generosity (sing as the offering is received)
“Brothers and Sisters of Mine” CCS 616
OR “Can We Calculate Our Giving” CCS 617
Scripture of Commissioning: Doctrine and Covenants 161:7
Hymn of Commission
“I Have Called You by Your Name” CCS 636
OR “Your Cause Be Mine” CCS 639
Ordinary Time (Proper 19)
Exploring the Scripture
Jesus with a lamb across his shoulders has been the subject of many paintings, carvings, and other art forms for centuries. Inspiration for that image is found in one of two parables that make up much of today’s text. But there is more to this text than that one familiar image.
The passage begins by describing how Jesus annoyed the Pharisees and scribes by eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (v. 1). Jesus was often countercultural in his engagements with people. The Pharisees and scribes were the ones who could decide what was clean and unclean, righteous and unrighteous, acceptable and unacceptable.
Extending radical hospitality by eating with sinners was taboo. By his actions, Jesus was saying to those religious leaders that his message of joy, hope, love, and peace was for all people; that the worth of the person transcended their set of religious laws. Jesus was saying to the Pharisees and scribes that everyone has a place at God’s table.
He then challenged those seemingly pious religious leaders by telling two parables. In the first, he asks who wouldn’t leave the herd of sheep to search for one that was lost—and on finding it, who wouldn’t rejoice? In the second, Jesus asks what person would not light a lamp to find a lost coin. The reaction to finding the coin is, similarly, a celebration to which a happy and grateful woman invites her friends and neighbors.
Jesus gave a twofold message through these parables. First, it is important to search for that which is lost. Even sinners are worth seeking after. Second, finding the lost is about celebrating. “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (v. 7) and “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (v. 10), Jesus says.
Jesus’ actions and message in today’s text foreshadow what has become known as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). It is as much for us today as it was for people in Jesus’ time. We have been called in our generation as individuals and as a community to “look also beyond your walls to the far-flung places where the church must go” (Doctrine and Covenants 162:7d). We have also been told this is a joyful task, not a compulsory drudge. “And if it so be that you should labor all your days…and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy, if you should bring many souls unto me!” (Doctrine and Covenants 16:3e–f, 4a).
- Jesus teaches by deed and words that his message of God’s kingdom is for all people and all are welcome at his table.
- Our effort to bring back into life as disciples those who are separated from God is part of the work to which we have been called.
- Seeking and finding the lost is a joyous occasion worth celebrating.
Questions to Consider
- What are the parallels between the two parables in today’s text?
- Why did the shepherd risk the entire flock to find a solitary animal? What does that mean for us today as we engage in Christ’s mission?
- What is your congregation doing to find “lost sheep” in your community? What could it do to “look also beyond your walls to the far-flung places where the church must go” (Doctrine and Covenants 162:7d)?
- How is your congregation engaged in the community or neighborhood around its location?
- How can your congregation celebrate the joy of seeking and finding the lost?
- When have you been “lost”? How did it feel to be found?