In the United States, a nation of immigrants, still swell with people from other countries, many fleeing persecution, fear, and poverty. Even in Cape May County we meet them in shops and restaurants, and welcome them to our communities and neighborhoods. Most of our families have immigrant stories, and our cemetery represents amazing immigrant stories of international travelers who came to the “new world” in search of freedom and to work and worship as they chose. This week, Pastor Kevin’s message continues the story of Jesus on the move as an infant from Matthew 2:13-23. Jesus was born in a borrowed Bethlehem barn in Asia and became an African refugee in Egypt, so the Christmas story is about an international migrant. Furthermore, a whole village full of baby boys died for Jesus before he had the opportunity to die for them on the cross. Surely this Jesus understands the pain of children who suffer and die for the sins of adults in our our communities. This week’s Gospel resonates loudly for our times and will equip and inspire us to participate in the transforming inbreaking of the divine that comes with the birth of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Joy to your world can be realized for you and our entire community because if Jesus is not for everyone, he’s not for anyone. Jesus is for all of us!
You may use it to give you peace of mind, and to locate a missing item. There are several companies like TrackR that offer a super tiny electronic tracking device you register to your smart phone and attach to a item of value, like your key ring. Should you misplace your keys, “Beep. Beep. Beep.” You not only hear the signal, but you can open your smart phone and locate the missing item on a map. TrackR’s tagline: Find more. Search less.
Finding what’s lost is not a new idea. This week, we will hear Jesus’ story of the lost sheep which begins with a highly questionable assumption: “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?” If that crowd around Jesus included 100 shepherds, it is more likely that ninety-nine of them would be thinking—
“Are you kidding me, Jesus? I’m staying with my ninety-nine secure sheep and doing everything I can to make sure I don’t lose any more of them. Wow. Why would I leave what I already have to head into the wild, unknown places, to look for just one lost sheep—who is not worth it and is probably already dead or injured? That’s crazy!”
But Jesus insists that a truly GOOD shepherd would immediately go looking, not stopping his search until the animal is located. The GOOD shepherd listens for the “Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.” Then, when that one sheep returns on the loving shoulders of the GOOD shepherd, he will triumphantly and joyously parade back to his friends and neighbors calling them to “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Every One matters to Jesus. How about you?
What are you searching for? Maybe you feel a bit lost? We put Jesus’ priority of searching and finding the one’s who are not here (instead of being content with those we already have). One is worth everything to the GOOD shepherd who invests in those who Are at risk and most deserve attention and compassion.
“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” (Luke 15:10).
This week, Pastor Kevin’s message is titled, “Who Is Your One?” from Luke 15:1-10. Get resources to help search for the One’s and the None’s all around us. Jesus’ tagline: “Find one. Rejoice. Search more. ” One’s matter to Jesus.