If you walked through Burton just before Easter you may have noticed sheep sheltering in various windows in the village, looking a little lost. Fortunately some children were willing to use part of their Easter holiday to search for the sheep and to report their whereabouts to us when they arrived at our ‘Lost and Found’ Holiday Club.
The Club was run by a team from the churches in Holme and Burton and was held in the Burton Memorial Hall. About 30 children from both villages came for teaching, games and other activities. Over the three days we heard three stories that Jesus told to explain his own mission. He is like a shepherd who leaves the flock while he searches for a sheep that is lost. He is like a woman who loses a silver coin but who turns the house upside down until the coin is found. When a son walks out of a family and makes a mess of his life, Jesus is like the father who longs to be able to welcome his wayward son back into the heart of the family.
With each story Jesus is explaining why he, a man whose life was beyond criticism, gained a reputation for eating and drinking with those thought to be less-than-wholesome. Jesus says that no-one should be surprised – that is exactly what he came for, to find those who have distanced themselves from God and bring them back into his family.
In Jesus’ story, there is also an apparently loyal older brother who ends up outside the family; he is self-righteous (unable to see that he too is lost) and angry with his father for forgiving his brother. Jesus is challenging us: Do you think it is a good thing that I’m finding lost people or not? Are you with me or against me?
Our ‘Lost and Found’ Holiday Club was a small part of the task that Jesus gives: to let everyone know that he is searching for lost people to bring them home to himself; he loves doing this.
“The Son of Man (that’s Jesus) came to seek and to save lost people” (Luke 19:10)