When someone you knew in school writes a book, you can’t help but read it. So when my seminary classmate, Emmy Kegler, shared her publication date, “One Coin Found” went right into my Amazon cart. Her memoir/theological resource/bible study traveled with me last April to a conference where I read it during any free moment. Emmy weaves her own story with the lost and found parables in Luke. I found myself laughing, crying, and feeling so grateful for her writing.
As I looked at our lectionary readings for September 15th, I found myself going back to Emmy’s work.
So as part of my sermon prep for last Sunday’s sermon, I found myself going back through her book. Like many others, I find myself in the stories of lost people and things in Luke. I’ve shared my own faith story throughout sermons and in conversations at church. Unfortunately I just realized I haven’t shared much of my own faith journey in these writings. So look for an upcoming blog post on that!
But the elevator version of my own faith story is one of being lost. I felt unworthy and undeserving of love for so long. I was aimless in much of my life, especially in my faith. But like the prodigal son, like the lost sheep, like the lost coin, God never gave up searching for me until I was found.
But being found can sometimes be difficult. I didn’t know if I would be welcome into the places I was being called to. Thankfully, Emmy was able to put this into words that I struggled to name myself:
“fragmentation. Essentially, when we come to worship, study the Bible, or join in the practices of Christian community, we do not always come as whole people: Many of us are coming as people who have already received a message, in multiple insidious cultural forms, that we are in some way defective or sub-ideal.”Emmy Kegler – One Coin Found
It has taken me years to come to Christian community as a whole person, authentically sharing who I am and how God’s finding me has been such an important part of my life. Even though I had been “found” by God. Even though I had felt called to the church and to ministry in it, it’s only been in the last year that I’ve been able to experience the welcome and acceptance that God’s love through church can bring.
And that is no easy thing. Sometimes it’s a matter of daring to be found, to be seen, to be loved by God and by God’s people.
Seeking one another
Sometimes it means daring to seek one another. As I prepared my sermon for Sunday, I thought about all the ways in which those of us who have felt lost, who have been lost, have been or could be found. God seeks us, bringing us grace and love and wholeness.
But we seek each other too. In our churches we are called to seek one another. To listen and care for one another. To welcome and accept one another for who God has made us to be.
So that, like the father in the prodigal son parable, like the shepherd and the lost sheep, or the woman searching for her coin, we all can rejoice in God finding us and bringing us together.
And if you’re interested in a personal, in depth reflection on these texts, I highly recommend Emmy Kegler’s book, “One Coin Found.”
What are periods in your life where you have felt lost? How were you “found?” Have you ever felt fragmented from church or your faith? How did you find wholeness? What are ways God is still seeking you today? How are you seeking to care for others?