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? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
What is different here is verse 10 which introduced the parable with these words -
Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
And so I begin this morning thinking long and hard about "the little ones." Who are the little ones that we can so easily despise or dismiss or overlook? When I read the news about immigration bans and new health care plans I know that there are people who are being left out and excluded. Are they the little ones?
When I turn to "the message" Peterson translates this verse like this:
Watch that you don’t treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven?
Are the little ones childlike believers who continue to trust in God's presence and power in their daily lives. I think of the little ones that are the backbone of a church - those who pray and give and serve with little or no recognition while others may be making decisions around them. I continue to grieve as I watch once vital churches which are closing as the "little ones" have to find a new place for themselves.
I imagine I encounter lots of "little ones" throughout my day and often do not see them or acknowledge them. During this Lenten season - (and actually throughout this journey we call faith) - God is continually trying to work with me in my blindness and my arrogance. It is easy to give lip service to "everyone matters" and God love each one as God loves all" but it is hard to be attentive and live with real awareness of the "little ones."
so my Mantra for Today is "SEEK AND LOVE THE LITTLE ONES"
Here are 2 prayers from A Procession of Prayers
We seek our brothers and sister,
and find them only
when we open our hearts to them,
We must speak your word to them aright,
They must understand.
Otherwise they are lost....
Come, Holy Spirit,
to enter the hurts of others. Amen
in a book
that a man called Christ
went about doing good.
It is very disconcerting
that I am so easily