Tuesday, September 07, 2010

creationary: lost coins, lost sheep

A creationary: a space to be creative with the lectionary. For more resources go here.

With the lectionary text for Sunday being Luke 15:1-10 or Luke 15:1-32, here are some resources I’ve used previously, buried in my blog archives, that might be useful.

First, here is a missional pondering on Luke 15, in which I tease out some of the potentially unhelpful mission and ministry images that might be at play.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t she leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until she finds it? And when she finds it, she joyfully sits down. Then she calls the friends and neighbors of the lost sheep together. And as this moment, as a new missional congregation is planted, the shepherd and existing congregation burst out ‘Rejoice; the lost sheep is found.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Second, a gender in ministry reflection emerging from the lost coin parable on Jesus as the good woman. Here’s an excerpt:

Luke 15:1-7 presents Jesus as like a good shepherd, searching for a lost sheep. Luke 15:8-10 presents Jesus as like a good woman, searching for a lost coin. The church has been very happy to tell me about the first, Jesus as good shepherd. But why has the church been strangely silent about the second, Jesus as a good woman? As Kenneth Bailey, Finding the Lost, notes, Jesus is remarkable for the way he affirms both women and men as “full and equal participants in the kingdom of God.” Surely this pairing has something to say about women in ministry.

Third, some potential worship stations.

Sheep station – with a metal fencing and gate, and the invitation to

Look: at the fence and the gates.

Act: by sitting inside the sheep pen.

Reflect: How would you feel if you were ninety-nine? Pray for us at Opawa, and for what your feelings mean for the future of the church.

Art station – an invitation to

Look: at the art image, Woman Sweeping, by Jean Vuillard; which portrays God as an ordinary house-keeper in everyday life.

Reflect: on the following poem
I was passionate,
filled with longing,
I searched
far and wide
But the day
that the Truthful One
found me,
I was at home.
by Lal Ded

Coin station: – with a whole lot of coins scattered around

Act: by holding a coin. On one side of the coin is a name of a child in our community. Pray that they will be found.

The other side of the coin is blank. It might be your name. What does it mean for you to know that God, like the woman, searching is for you? It might be someone you know. You might want to pray for them by writing their name (permanent marker supplied).

Whatever you do, take the coin with you into your week.

For more go here.

Finally, for those who need a bit of a light relief, here is the true story of what happened one Sunday in worship (ending with a reflection on leadership). Like all good Kiwi stories, it started with a sheep. The Biblical text was Luke 15:1-10, and involved 3 stations themed around lost and found. On Friday I joked to one of the worship leaders that we needed a sheep. “Oh,” he said, “my father is a farmer. Let me check.” Later he left a message. “Sheep will be at church at 9 am on Sunday.”

I arrived, planning for the sheep to be outside. You know, one lost sheep outside the church. Would have worked well. But the sheep was already inside, on stage, installed in a wooden pen, tarpaulin on floor, hay scattered around, sitting quietly. So much work had already been done. Such a quiet sheep. I didn’t have the heart to suggest a move.

All went well until the second song. I think it was the violin, but suddenly the sheep has his feet on the edge of the pen and is staring wildly around the church. The eyes of the gathered children are on stalks. One brave boy inches forward. I shake my head, but the boy doesn’t get my body language. He grabs some hay and tries to feed the sheep. The sheep goes nuts, and jumps clean out of the cage.

Boy jumps backwards and I jump forwards. Afterward someone says they have never seen a pastor move so fast. I grab the sheep and press it against the wooden pen.

I am wearing my Sunday clothes and I have to preach in about 10 minutes. I am wearing a cordless microphone. If I try and get the sheep back into pen, I risk losing the microphone in a flurry of hooves. If I try and take the microphone off, I risk losing the sheep. I am stuck.

I am holding a sheep, in my Sunday clothes, in front of a watching congregation. I am about to go down in history as the pastor responsible for a sheep lose in Opawa church. I am starting to refresh my CV.

Suddenly Michael is beside me. Local teenager from the community. Middle finger bandaged after a rugby game that week. Calmly Michael picks up the sheep. Together Michael and I place the sheep back into the pen. No-one else in the congregation has moved. But young Michael has stepped forward, taken initiative and saved my day.

One of my beliefs is that we are all leaders. This is based on my understanding of leadership as influence. We all influence people, so by definition we are thus all leaders. You don’t need to have a position or a title, to exercise influence. You might exercise influence for good, or for bad. But we all influence others and we are all leaders. Michael earned the Opawa Baptist Leadership award today, for an act of outstanding leadership in our community.

Posted by steve at 03:22 PM

1 Comment

  1. Great story…thanks for the laugh!

    Comment by kerry — September 8, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.