Family Liturgies

Luke 15:1-10 – God Throws a Party!

balloonsScripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10 – God Throws a Party!

Luke 15:1-10 (NRSV)

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

Memory Verse

“I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” –Luke 15:10

 

Thoughts on Scripture

The best definition of “repent” I’ve heard was from a teacher who told me about the physical connotations of the world. It means “to turn,” but my teacher said (something to the effect of): People are always walking. Especially in Jesus’ day, people would walk to follow their teachers, walk behind them to study, to listen, to go in the same direction the leader was going. So to repent really meant to turn from one way and to begin to walk in a new way.

These verses tell us that God rejoices every time someone turns from the way they were walking – maybe a way that wasn’t so good for themselves or their community – and begins to walk with the community that had dedicated itself to Jesus’ ways and teachings, to follow him.

And what’s really striking, I think, is how clear these Scriptures make it that the size of the crowd doesn’t matter: each person who comes to walk in the way of Jesus is celebrated. Even with a hundred, the loss of one makes a big difference. And each time a new friend is found, it’s a big deal – worth throwing a party over! Especially, we seem to see here, if it’s someone we didn’t expect to come and walk in this way; the more unexpected, the bigger the party!

 

Questions to Discuss

– What makes you rejoice? When have you had such good news that you wanted to call together a party to celebrate?

– If Jesus was going to walk around your town, stopping to visit people along the way, pausing to teach and tell stories, what route would he take? What would he want the people in the crowd that followed to see, or hear, or visit, or notice, in your town? Why?

 

Prayer/Song

O God, you are my God,
and I will ever praise you.
O God, you are my God,
and I will ever praise you.
I will seek you in the morning,
and I will learn to walk in your ways,
and step by step you’ll lead me,
and I will follow you all of my days.

 

Spiritual Practice

-Is there someone in your life whose presence you celebrate? Someone who you are thankful for, someone who has made your days better? Send a card to that person letting him or her know that you rejoice in the friendship you share. You might decorate the card with Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you,” and include a list of things that you celebrate about your connection to that person.

-Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious: throw a party! Collect a few balloons or streamers, bake some cupcakes, color a banner to hang up to tell your guests of God’s love for them. As you’re laughing and singing and dancing, remind yourself (and those with you), “This is how God feels when we walk the way Jesus is leading.”

Erika Marksbury

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