One of the things that I like about traveling to new places is the possibility of getting lost and discovering new and perhaps wonderful places to explore. Yet the truth is that I am not really lost. I can always backtrack, consult a map or even ask directions. It may take me a while but I will get where I am going.
The kind of lostness described in the first two parables of the fifteenth chapter of Luke is of a different nature neither the sheep nor the coin have any ability to find themselves. The only way for them to be found is for someone to seek for them. We all have stories of people looking for lost things, my favourite personal story involves a diamond necklace and a landfill.
Yet I don't think that these parables are really about looking for what we value. Everybody will look for something that has value it is just common sense.
What strikes me in reading these stories this week is the sense that the apparent value of the things being sought is far out shadowed by the effort put into finding them. The entire focus of shepherd and woman becomes finding the lost.
The parables state that this is how God seeks for us, with total focus and abandon. The Good News is not just that God is looking for us, but that God values us which such fierceness and depth of love. It is as if for the time we are lost we are the only thing that matters to God.
To paraphrase Paul, should I lose myself so that God may seek me? By no means, yet to awaken myself to my present lostness will open my life to the infinite grace of God and the joy of being found.