"I ask for the desire to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for patience, tolerance, empathy, compassion, and gentleness. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, arrogance, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, and self-importance. I ask to know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness and walking humbly."
12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of your* Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
1) "...gone astray;" "...went astray;" "...he rejoices;" "...went astray;" "...these little ones;"
2) I think the shepherd is nuts. Who risks 99% of their investment to go chasing after 1%. If there were no risk to the 99%, then it would be worth going off for the 1%. How do we engage the 1%? Those who tend to forget who it is we are called to serve? Those who tend to put self-interest ahead of the larger community? Those who just drift away, losing the "habit" of coming to church? Those who get "burnt out," or who "take some distance" to deal with other pressing matters, and never find their way back? How do we as a community really care for one another? How do we care for each other in little ways, that make us know we are loved and missed? We have more than a few members loosing vision. One woman has started coming to church, her clothing soiled because she can't see that she's spilled something down the front. It breaks my heart. No one says anything to her because they don't want to embarrass her. But wouldn't it be more loving to help her tend to it? What about the woman who comes to church with her hair in disarray. She's always been meticulous about her appearance, and once again would be embarrassed to realize she's out in public with a serious case of 'bedhead.' Is it more loving to not say anything, saving her the embarrassment? or to simply say, "Love, can I help you with your hair?" How do we love each other in the small ways? How do we love each other in intimate ways that say "you matter to us"?
3) What is the invitation in all this? Do I have the courage to ask if I can help X with her hair? or to gently inform Y that her blouse is soiled? Or that Z is alienating the very people who love him most by his bluster?
"Holy One, help us to care for one another in little ways. Help us to risk deeper intimacy with those we profess to love."
Breathprayer: "He rejoices over... these little ones."