Grace and Peace to you.
What woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
— Luke 15.8-10
Tattered man, as tattered as his clothes, and as many layers of him. Probably not as old as he looks. A little dazed, maybe from booze, maybe meds, maybe lack of meds. His speech is hard to track. He might be making sense, or maybe reciting poetry, or maybe just nuts. He could be a noble fellow fallen on hard times, or maybe a lazy, bitter drunk. It would certainly take a long time to get his whole story, but you’re not likely to get that close and listen that long. Nobody ever will. He smells too bad.
Noxious kid. Tattoos, cartoon hair, offensive clothes. Some kind of knife. Smokes like a 50’s movie. Dull eyes. Not going to make much of an effort, but ready with a deep, rumpled anger like a bad cough if you’re ever interested. Which you’re not likely to be. He’s too scary. What are you missing?
Invisible woman. Cleans the outhouses at the campground. Probably doesn’t speak English. Probably is an illegal alien. Probably doesn’t have any kids, or hopes, or feelings. But you’ll never know. You never saw her. Ever wonder what her prayer life is like?
It’s easy to see them as roles, as traits and behaviors, as occasions, symbols, ciphers. A collection of adjectives. But not as full human beings, as divine creations living in minds and bodies that sometimes fail them. Not as souls, as God’s Beloved. No, their souls are lost to us amidst our own judgments and reactions.
How might Christ rejoice if we whose souls are so lost were to repent of our fear and seek those who have been dropped into society’s dusty corners and treat them so that they might believe that they are worth seeking, that Someone values them and rejoices over them, that even in their loneliest muck they are beautiful and Beloved, that they are God’s precious silver coin? How might we ourselves rejoice in the presence of the angels of God if we were to go among the last and the lost and the least and discover there the only Gospel there is?
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes