This Sunday, my sermon came with visual aids. I’ll try to present them here like I did on Sunday morning. May, who is in 3rd Grade, walked each of these prints/pictures around while I described them and read their corresponding scripture.
This print of “The Good Shepherd” was given to me as a college graduation gift (all the way back in 2000) by my dear friend, Katie. Katie was someone I worshipped with and prayed with on an almost daily basis. She gave me the print and I took it to Hobby Lobby (or Michaels?) to have it framed…and that’s when I learned how expensive it can be to have something matted and framed. It’s hung in all of my post-college homes.
Jesus tells a parable that reminds us that God is like a shepherd:
Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, â€˜This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.â€™
So he told them this parable:Â â€˜Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?Â When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.Â And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, â€œRejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.â€Â Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
This is a photograph of an icon that belongs to one of my seminary professors, Dr. Susan Forshey. You can read about this icon in her own words on her website. But this icon symbolizes the God who sweeps, like in this parable:
â€˜Or what woman having ten silver coins,Â if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?Â When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, â€œRejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.â€Â Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.â€™
Once I shared these first two prints, I went to the pulpit to preach most of the rest of my sermon:
Where the video ends, I once again left the pulpit to share one more print.
“The Jesus Eraser” by David Hayward features a lot of people drawing lines and Jesus steadfastly erasing the lines drawn to separate. Which I think has a lot to do with our parables in Luke 15.
Our closing prayer:
Merciful Lord, in Christ we see the lengths and depths to which you go to save us. You search the wilderness like a shepherd searching for his sheep. You sweep the house like a woman searching for her coin. You gather us in your arms like a Father who has longed to hold his child again.
Make us glad in our salvation, so that we may share this good news with friends and neighbors, with enemies and those who are far away, with all the world you made and love. We hear Jesusâ€™ call to us and ask that you would lead us in rejoicing in your amazing love for each and all. Amen.