I am blessed to have a large collection of Bibles and many have their various purposes. I have a morning devotion Bible, several New Testaments that I read from at a support group, a well-worn Bible by my computer, several serious study Bibles, three or four paraphrases, my high school Bible, and the Jewish holy scriptures. They seem like family members and I mourned the loss of my thin Bible with the butterfly sticker inside. I started taking one of my husband’s Bibles to church. I recognize that I’m “old school” since I cannot feel comfortable with a cell phone or e-reader version at church. Besides, I like turning real pages and that’s usually faster than the electronic ones.
How joyous it is to experience the lost returning. Especially so when it is a lost pet or family member. Our teenage daughter once left home abruptly and we, friends and police, searched frantically for several hours until she was found. Bittersweet relief. Years earlier we had a pet cat that disappeared for about three days, and my husband spent several nights sleeping on the floor next to the sliding glass door in case he returned. Thankfully, the dear grimy, hungry cat came home. But it’s not always the case as a cat that disappeared when I was a child–most likely the victim of a stealthy fox. We always worry about the vulnerability of the lost.
The same Bible that reappeared at home shares a trio of stories about the lost in Luke 15. The last parable about two sons and a faithful father has inspired people and art for centuries. The wayward son in that story had asked his father for his inheritance which amounted to wishing his father was dead. It’s not clear how many months or years passed until the son had used up his money in “wild living.” Later he decided to return home and ask to be a hired hand, rather than starve. His father must have been sitting on the front porch, or on the roof, watching for his son every day. He ended up running to greet his son with kisses, forgiveness, reinstatement, and a party. (The other brother’s reaction reveals another aspect of God’s compassion and inclusion.)
So cats, kids, and compassion are all wrapped up in my lost Bible returning home. I had even forgotten that I had tucked a small folded note with my mother’s handwriting in the back of that Bible: “There is no other word for grace, but amazing.”
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. Have you ever been the one that was lost?
2. What’s the most interesting or exciting recovery you have experienced?
Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.
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