This passage is found in many children’s Bibles. You can find it on page 374 of the Spark Story Book Bible. As you read this with younger children, this might be a good story to have them act out. If reading with adults, switch off readers at verse 8 just for transition.
For children: What is your most favorite toy or thing? Have you ever lost it? If you did, how long did you look for it? Or if you haven’t lost it, what would you do find it? Have you ever been separated from mom or dad in the store? What was that like? How did you feel when your mom or dad found you? It can be sad to lose something that we really like or frightening to be lost from our family in a big place. These two stories that Jesus tells about a shepherd who lost a sheep and a woman who lost a coin remind us that there is no where we can go or hide that God won’t find us and be with us. God wants to be with all people always and gets so excited about being with us that God wants to have a party to show how happy God is! God also wants us to tell everyone how much God also loves them too!
For youth/adults: Sometimes in groups of people we get concerned about “who’s in and who’s out.” This parable reminds us that God wants all people “in” and invites everyone to the celebration. Repent in the Greek is not about confessing wrong doing but literally means “to turn around.” We get all turned around in this world and sometimes don’t know which way is up! But God searches for us always and there is nowhere that we can go that God can’t find us and “turn us back around” to what is important. Has there been a time in your life when you were given the opportunity to “turn around”? How did that feel? Have you ever rejoiced with a friend or a family member who was able to have another chance-maybe from drug or alcohol abuse, bad relationships, bad career choices, etc. How can we as a community affirm that God lets us “turn around” as many times as we need to and celebrates with us each and every time that we do? God wants us to see that all people need “turned around” and all people are included in God’s love and grace. We are called to not worry about who’s in or out but to see everyone as God does-worthy of being rejoiced over.
Faith + Prayer: God, you rejoice over us despite our shortcomings and faults. You promise to be with us always and to find us over and over again, each and every day of our lives. We thank you for this gift and for the community of all your people. In the name of your son who is this promise made real, Jesus, amen.
The heart of this gospel lesson is that God sees all people as valuable, lovable and worthy. Many times those not seen in our society are young children. Call a local hospital and ask what supplies for newborns they could use to be donated. Often families without many resources can use layettes, blankets, diapers, and other supplies. Add a note of blessing or prayer to the donations.