One of the parables that Jonathan Merritt turned on its head was the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Learning to Speak God from Scratch taught me to think differently about the term “lost.”

Like Merritt, in most of the retellings I’ve heard the responsibility of the sheep’s and the coin’s lost status is on the objects themselves. But, Merritt’s what-if question raises an important point about the Christian community.

Maybe we are the shepherd and the woman. How often do we take inventory of our communities, and upon identifying those who are now ‘lost’ and disconnected from us, take an ownership for the role we may have played in their estrangement?

Jonathan merritt, Learning to speak god from scratch

Whoa! Full stop.

As Merritt points out, the sheep nor the coin did not sin or cause their own lost status, the shepherd and the woman both had a responsibility to care for the and guard over the sheep and the coin. To the shepherd and woman’s credit — they both took responsibility. The shepherd left the other sheep safe, but searched out the one he lost along the way. The woman, dropped everything and turned her house upside down looking for the lost money.

Merritt says this is the way Christians should look at their faith communities. Perhaps lostness is not the fault of those lost but of those found and safe.

Perhaps it’s our responsibility to look after the lost among us? To go after them and reconcile them to our congregations? Perhaps the lost are our responsibility. ❤