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Amazing Grace

Luke 15:1-10 tells the story of when Jesus spent time visiting and eating with sinful folk, which did not sit well with the self-righteous Pharisees. As they rebuked him, Jesus told them a story about a shepherd who had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. He leaves the 99 and goes to find the one lost sheep—and rejoices when he finds it. This would have been hard for the Pharisees to understand because of their self-imposed regulations that forbade them from doing business or having social connections with sinners.

The fact that Jesus would share His life with all types of people gives us hope because, as we are told in 1 Timothy 1:15, "He (Jesus) came into the world to save sinners." Our Lord, as the Good Shepherd, takes delight in the 99 who are in His fold and under His care, but He is also willing and able to search for the lost soul. One of the greatest of those who were lost and sinful is the Apostle Paul himself, who said in his first letter to Timothy, "though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."

There are times when we identify with the lost sheep because of our inner feelings and desires, or when we have not acted according to our values. Jesus knows this will happen to each one of us and, when it does, He reaches out in love and compassion to guide and direct us back to the fold.

The above readings from scripture are comforting because we are invited to eat at the Lord's table with Him at communion (cf. Matthew 26:26-29), sinners though we are. We were lost and have been found, forgiven and even called to minister to others in His name. Like the words from the hymn Amazing Grace, “How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." Amen.

My prayer for each of you is to have a meaningful Advent to prepare your heart, soul and life to receive the Christ Child during the wonderful time of Christmas once again.
The Rev. Nicolas (Nick) R.D. Dyke
Pastoral Associate
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