Every parable teaches us something about the nature of God. Here we have the lost drachma. That poor woman with her lost coin! A biblical commentator has said that people today don’t identify with the woman who swept her floor to recover her lost coin. Oh, no? That’s what he thinks!
Just this week, last Monday, I lost my reading glasses. I retraced all my steps, looked everywhere for them: all the places I had been. Nothing! I had given them up for lost. Then I came home and found them! In a place I had forgotten I had put them the day before! I was delighted. I understood the woman who lost her drachma. How about you? What about car keys? Or the worst: the cell phone. We can’t remember where we put it. We go through all the antics of calling the phone from someone else’s phone, hoping we left the setting on ring? Right?
Well, that’s what God is like. That’s how God feels about us when we wander and get lost amid the pleasures, distractions and pressures of this world. God is thrilled to see us coming back up the walk. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father who was watching with longing for his son’s return. He was thrilled to welcome him home. God is like that with us. That’s what God’s love is like.
The Church is like that, too, like Motel 6, always leaving the light on. In fact some scholars say the woman with the drachma is an image of Mother Church, searching for her lost children. When people come back to the Church after many years, I say to them, ‘welcome home.’ One person said: “You made it so easy.” I said, “God is merciful.” Like the Prodigal Father.
But the person must make the first step: the awareness that something is missing, the decision to return and then the act of returning. We can do the inviting. God is there always waiting, always searching out, offering mercy. As we know the sounds of a loved one’s foot fall or breathing or a signature gesture, so God knows the sound of our ‘car keys jingling’, the sound of our ‘cell phone ring signal. God listens for the sounds of our return.
So, too, with those who have wandered away from the Church. Why not invite them back? In the new issue of Crossroads there is article (pp. 8-9) with practical suggestions for talking with people about this. Find out what’s wrong, where they hurt and invite them back. People often come visiting Harrodsburg: Bourbon Trail, Brightleaf resort, Pioneer Playhouse, Shaker Village, Beaumont Inn, Lake Herrington. Funerals and weddings are other ideal opportunities. Announce the Gospel of the Lord. Be an image of God, an evangelist. Say to them: welcome home. What grace filled words. What happy words. Welcome home!