Why all the tears? Well, for me (and so many others) this has been a season of losses and a season of gains. A season of weeping and laughing. Of disappointments and miracles. Nights of anxiety. Mornings of joy. The ebb and flow of it all has been prolonged and tiresome. Personally, I can only really describe these pandemic months as a season of loves and losses.
There were times when Jesus positioned himself among those who felt lost and knew they felt lost. The tired. The poor. The sick. The hopeless skeptics. Descendants of all the collateral damage scattered across Palestine’s turbulent history. It was among these that Jesus revealed mysteries, parabolic tales of persuant love, that ancient longing to go out and look for and openly receive that which was lost, to see that which was dead and gone.
Luke 15 - Lost Sheep. Lost Coin. Lost Son. At that time, several tax-collectors and other sinners were drawing near to Jesus to listen to him teach. Seeing this, Pharisees and Scribes began talking among themselves and grumbling ‘This man welcomes sinners and even eats with them.’ Knowing in his heart what these teachers of the law were saying, Jesus told them these parables: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing just one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost?’ ‘Or what woman, having ten silver coins and losing even one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?’ ‘Or in the case of a righteous father to his eldest son, we had to celebrate and rejoice over this brother of yours, because he was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’
I think we all can agree that these deeply layered narratives arise in our own lives as we inevitably intersect deep love with sudden loss. Loss is part of the natural pattern of this earth. Our response to it is not of this earth. Our response to loss is much more like that of heaven in agony–a deafening silence in the midst of paradise. The single greatest indication of our love for someone or something is our response to losing it. Confusion. Anger. Silence. Rage. Disorientation. Grief. Love.
If the mysteries of Jesus reveal anything, they reveal to us the literal, tangible, practical weight of compassion standing alongside our immeasurable grief. Even now you feel Him, don’t you? The gravitational tug of His presence among our losses and gains, our weeping and laughing, the disappointments and miracles, the anxiety, the joy. We are at loss. But we are not alone. There are multitudes out looking, searching the cliffs and crags, sweeping the rooms of the house, running down the tree-lined lanes. Don’t dissuade them. Join them. Weep with them. Then celebrate with them when at last they find.