SCRIPTURE: Luke 15:1-10
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “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? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Charles B. Cousar shares that “The second story depicts a woman who, having lost one of her treasured silver coins, lights a lamp and sweeps her house carefully until she finds the lost coin. She is overjoyed and calls her friends to celebrate the finding of the lost coin. No doubt her coin was a drachma, worth the price of a sheep or one-fifth the price of an ox. She has thus invested a great deal in the party she has thrown for her friends. No other parable in the New Testament presents a woman as a metaphor or allegory for God. This would shock and surprise the audience since God is depicted as a searching woman, who rejoices over finding her lost coin.”
As much as depicting God as a searching woman would have shocked and surprised the audience present when Jesus told this parable, the truth is that it probably was still shocking and problematic for many people for a long time. Women have been held as less than men for the greater part of human history, and while great strides have been made (especially in recent times), there are still countless obstacles to having true equality between women and men. But this is not the only imagery of God as a female we find in Scripture. There are several instances where God is compared to a loving mother, wanting to care for her children.
How many women in the Bible can you name, who are actually given names? (And no cheating by going to Google). Who are some of your favorite women from the Bible and why?
Merciful God, just like a loving mother, you continue to care for us, your children, even when we sin and hurt you and others. We give you thanks for your patience, your love, your mercy, and your grace. Help us to honor you, and to honor all people, regardless of their gender or sex. Help us to lift all creation in love. Amen.