October 27, 2019

A Church of Good Shepherds for Lost Sheep

A Church of Good Shepherds for Lost Sheep

“A Church of Good Shepherds for Lost Sheep”
Psalm 23 Ezek. 34: 1-16 Luke 15: 1-7 John 10: 11-15
Rev. Paul E. Capetz Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist),
Newport Beach October 27, 2019

“As our God has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor and each one of us should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be little Christs to one another.” Martin Luther Have you ever been lost? Maybe you were driving someplace and lost the way; even with a GPS device in your car, it is still possible to get lost as I have discovered many times, since that device isn’t always accurate. Being lost can be a disorienting and frightening experience. I remember being lost and getting quite scared a couple of years ago when I was in India. We had stopped in a small town to go shopping and each one of us was supposed to meet back at the bus in a few hours. I usually I have a very good sense of direction, so it’s easy to find my way back from somewhere along the same route I originally came. But that day I got really lost. I didn’t recognize any landmarks I had passed. What’s more, the battery in my cellphone had died and I couldn’t call anyone to explain what had happened or to ask for help. And I started to panic. What if the bus left without me? What if I never found my tour group again? But, after some very frightening moments, I turned a corner and, lo and behold, found myself back at the place where we had parked the bus. The relief I felt upon finding the bus was as intense as the fear I had felt at the prospect of being lost for good in the middle of India.

Experiences such as these tell us something important about what we need in order to live meaningfully in the world. We need to feel safe and secure, as well as to feel that we are living in a world that is familiar to us. That feeling of complete safety and security is why the 23rd Psalm is so comforting to us. But there are many people in our world who feel lost all the time, and by that, I mean lost in an existential sense, not just that they can’t find their way back to a tour bus. I want to talk about some of these people who are lost in this more profound sense.

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