A Lent Reflection for Wednesday, March 1st
By Jenny Hoskins
Lectionary reading: Psalm 32; Exodus 34:1-9, 27-28; Matthew 18:10-14
Selected passage: Matthew 18:10-14
Matthew 18:10-14 NIV
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 11
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”
“What do you think?” the writer of this passage asks.
In my reading of this passage in this Lenten season, the word “wander” really called my attention. Wander. To ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove or stray. To move aimlessly or indirectly. Wander.
Growing up in the church, this passage of the shepherd and the sheep was one I encountered many times. Most often it was talked about in terms of sin and the lengths that God would go to in order to save the ones that wander off. Those whose sin had taken them far from the flock and where they were supposed to remain. And while this passage certainly has something to say about our lives and God’s relationship with us even in our sin, I wonder if it could also have something to say about God’s posture towards us when we wander away from who God created us to be. How God responds to us in those moments and seasons of our life when we are filled with self-doubt or are looking longingly at others, wishing to be more like them. Or when we lose ourselves trying to fit into boxes or patterns or expectations that our families or religious communities or systems of oppression like patriarchy and white supremacy place on us. Perhaps this passage has something to say to each of us about the extent that God would go to call you back to who you are.
You. The you God created. You are worth pursuing. You are one God will follow and call you back when you start to stray from yourself. Through God’s overwhelming love, we see the lengths the Good Shepherd will go to bring you back when you wander away, away from who God created you to be.
What do you think?
Do you feel like you have wandered away from who you truly are? In what ways might God be calling you back to the you God created?
Our creator God, thank you for promising to be with us always and for calling us back to ourselves. Help us to trust the voice of the Good Shepherd when we wander away from who you created us to be. Amen.
About the Author
Jenny and her family recently relocated to Nashville, TN after about a decade of living and serving in Ecuador. She is a mother to two, wife to one and still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She is happiest when she can spend time outdoors or when she is gathered around a table with good friends and rich conversation. She continues to partner with Serve Globally of the Evangelical Covenant Church.