Thursday, June 19, 2008

Being among the lost

"It is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost." Matthew 18:14

I've been thinking about loss and losing over the past few days. Whenever I am going somewhere new or doing a new thing I have of sense of being lost. Even with a good map and written directions it is easy for me to go astray. One missed sign or turn and I am in foreign territory.

I am also well known for losing things -keys especially. I have devised many methods over the years to keep track of the things I need every day. I have special routine places that I put the things I need on a regular basis, so I would not have to go searching in a last minute panic. I have been late in my life many times just on account of a lost set of keys, shoes, hairbrush and the like. When my girls were little we lost hairbrushes so often that I drilled a hole in the handle of one, tied a long string on it and secured it to a knob in the bathroom. Lost things can be frustrating. Lost people are heart breaking and not God's desire.

The pain of not going to Lambeth, being among the lost has been troubling my heart of late. The loss of a role in the church has been painful too. The loss of a friend breaks my heart as well. The ache is deep and I only know that living through loss for me requires acknowledging the grief as real. Jesus tells a parable about a lost sheep, how the shepherd leaves the flock and rescues the one. The lost are sought out by God. The grieving and exiles are whom God's heart aches to find and restore.

In these days of acknowledging loss, and feeling among the lost, I am taking great comfort in the seeking shepherd. The lighthouse beacon sending guidance to the lost. God as the one who loves the lost as much as the safe, the losers as much as the winners. If you are feeling among the lost today, remember that God's desire is to find you, scoop you up and return you to the fold. God's activity is in healing, restoration and redemption. Finding us, when we feel beyond all the borders and gates and in unfamilair, foreign pastures. May we have the courage today to trust the one who is seeking out the lost. May we have the courage to be found and peace while we trust in the coming restoration of God.


the Webmaster said...

Bishop and Friend,

Once again, you posted what I (think I) needed to hear. As you know, I have also "lost" my role in our church. This is my second time, but the recovery from the first is quicker, which allowed me to make an adjustment on the path I was on. This time it's not as easy.

The reality of actually 'retiring' and collecting social security had not even entered my mind. Yes, it is painful, but I will continue to look for the beacon that is there, waiting for me to find it.

Having spent 3 and a half years on a ship, while in the military, I understand the importance of the beacon and the need to know which beacon to follow. Each has its own message through the rhythm of it's rotation.

The string that I am trying to cut, is the one that goes back to the loss of my job and the loss of the ministry I thought I had.

I will add to my listening to a wee small voice, with the watching for the beacon for the next port or ministry that I need to focus on, or a new ministry.

Thank you for the prayer and your friendship.

mamabishop said...

Dear Webmaster,
the grief and loss are real. I know that God will take all this up and make it something new for you. I also know it is hard and painful to wait through God's timing. Please know you are daily in my thoughts and prayers as we take this journey together. Knowing you are reading and praying for me gives me great hope!
love and blessings,