Lost sheep and lost coins are the centerpiece of the Gospel for The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost. Jesus reminds his hearers and us that there is much rejoicing in heaven at even one person who, being lost, has been found. I think there's a lot to be said for repentance and conversion, no matter how old one is or even how much bad stuff one has already done. Next week we are going to celebrate a Baptism and welcome into the Body of Christ one who was lost and now is found. What a great way to prefigure the glorious sacrament we will participate in next week!
We also continue reading from Jeremiah this week. I can't help but get a bit depressed - I have to wonder what we're supposed to get out of all these dire passages. No one at Trinity has preached on Jeremiah yet. Maybe I will just to be contrary, but I confess it's some hard stuff. Jeremiah's context was living in around Jerusalem way after the fall of the Northern Kingdom (in 721 BC) and while the Southern Kingdom was increasingly isolated and ripe for takeover. Jerusalem itself was taken in 586 BC, and so Jeremiah is trying to warn the people that life is going to get worse before it gets better. Unfortunately, the theological language of God haranguing Judah and essentially telling them they deserve whatever they're going to get is, at first blush, not very, well, loving. So it's worth a further look.
We also began a series of readings from I and II Timothy, (called, with the Letter to Titus, the Pastoral Epistles) which ostensibly were written by St. Paul to his protege Timothy. Scholars think they are probably are actually written by one or more members of a "Pauline school" who tried to use the Apostle's style and diction when writings the letters, although they seem to have been written much later, perhaps as late as 70-100 AD. These "Pastoral" letters seem to be more interested in acting than being, so we'll see over the next weeks, through October.
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen