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Proper 19

Exodus 32.7–14
1 Timothy 1.12–17
Luke 15.1–10

The shepherd and the sweeping woman in Luke’s stories today are not reacting normally. We are not meant to read these stories and think, ‘Ah yes, I would do just that.’ We are supposed to question their values and then realize that the whole point of the stories is to question ours.

The scribes and Pharisees are unhappy about the company that Jesus is keeping, and so Jesus tells them these extravagantly exaggerated stories. The shepherd leaves 99 sheep to search for one. But why? Sheep die for all kinds of reasons, and no shepherd can ever expect to get through a whole season without losing a single one. The woman turns her house upside down, looking for one coin, when she has nine other perfectly good ones. And again, everyone knows that coins do go missing, and there is no suggestion that the woman is very poor and cannot afford to lose one, or that the coin is particularly valuable. Both the shepherd and the woman are behaving oddly, just as Jesus is, according to the Pharisees...

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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