Our Gospel for Sunday
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, 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."
When it occurs to us to wonder what would make God happy - God who dwells among the cherubim and seraphim and all the holy angels -- we might think the "R" word -- repentance. Repentance to the early Christians meant a 180 degree turn from their old life to a new life in Christ. This was part of their baptismal ceremony. While there is rejoicing in heaven about our repentance, there might be grumbling on earth that God has welcomed us to his banquet table. Brace yourself for the consequences.
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek
Photo: barren hillside
west of Jerusalem