29th January 2023

Loving us out of lostness

Since the pandemic lockdown starting in March 2020, there have been seasons of fads and trends to keep us entertained. Early on in the pandemic, I jumped on the jigsaw puzzle bandwagon. My friend and fellow Speaking of Life presenter, Cara Garrity even surprised me with a few in the mail to cheer me up during lockdown. And I wasn’t the only one. By the end of 2020, retailers were having difficulty keeping jigsaw puzzles in stock, and news stories reported that “there was a global shortage of puzzles.”     

If you’ve ever put together a jigsaw puzzle, you know the excitement of seeing the picture take shape. You start with trying to create the outside edges and work your way in. But what happens when you get down to the end and there’s a piece missing? Words can’t describe the frustration as we begin searching for that lost piece.

Jesus tells a story about a similar frustration in his parable about the Lost Coin found in Luke 15. Let’s take a look:

“…imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” (Luke 15:8-10 The Message)

The parable is intended to show us God’s grace. God is like the woman, tearing the house apart to find the coin, and we are like that lost coin. The coin doesn’t know it is lost, doesn’t know its value, and doesn’t know what it means to the woman. In addition, the coin does precisely nothing to be found, so the parable is not about repentance. And that tells us that we don’t have to achieve a level of morality or perfection to be worthy of being found. Instead, the parable shows how God finds us valuable enough to search relentlessly until we are found. Until we know how valued and loved we are. God, like the woman searching for the coin, is determined.

And this brings me back to that missing jigsaw puzzle piece. We can understand a little about how God must feel about us when we are disconnected from ourselves and God. We’re the piece of God’s puzzle that will complete the picture of the kingdom of God. Just as we search and search until we find that missing puzzle piece, lost in the sofa cushions or under the chair, so God seeks to demonstrate our inherent worth by showering us with love and showing us we belong. Our part is to let ourselves be loved and say “yes” to the reality of our value as human beings, created and precious in God’s sight.

Jigsaw puzzles allow us the satisfaction of seeing the full picture becoming complete, and when we can’t find the last piece, that completion is thwarted. Our efforts to find the missing piece can remind us of the Parable of the Lost Coin, and we can think about how God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit seek a connection with us and want to love us out of our lostness. The only thing we have to do is let them.

May you know and never forget how deeply you are loved and valued by God.

Presented by Michelle Fleming


About the presenter:
Michelle Fleming is an elder in Grace Communion International and works in the International Home Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Communications Director.
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. 

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