St. Matthew’s Sermon 09-11-2016

St. Matthew’s Sermon 09-11-2016

The Lost Coin

(Kathy Jachowski, Pulpit supply)

Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10


Have you ever lost your car keys?  What do you do?  You get into panic mode, especially if it just before you are to leave for work and you know you are going to be late now because you can’t find your keys.  In my house I wake everyone up even if it is early in the morning – Wake up – I need help now finding my keys.  They all love me!

My favorite is when you can’t remember where you parked in the parking lot and you walk around and walk around until finally you see your car.

Worse yet, one time we were in Raleigh, NC for a Lego Convention and when we got out from spending a day of fun building Legos we forgot which parking garage our car was in.    And it was not a cool day that day by any means, especially by Southern standards.

In today’s scripture Jesus tells a parable asking the question, “What woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it.”  Isn’t that what we do when we lose something…we do everything possible to find what was lost.

As we remember the attacks on this day of 9/11 one of the images that often comes to mind is that of three New York City firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center.

The flag came from the yacht Star of America, owned by Shirley Dreifus of the Majestic Star, which was docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center. McWilliams cut the flag holder off of the yacht with a K-Saw and then took the flag and its pole from the yacht to an evacuation area on the northwest side of the site. They found a pole about 20 feet off the ground.

Soon after its raising above Ground Zero, the flag had disappeared. The city thought it had possession of the flag after the attack, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and George Pataki signed it, and it flew at the New York City Hall, Yankee Stadium, and on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during its service in the Mideast. However, when the flag’s owner, Dreifus, prepared to formally donate the flag, it was discovered that there was a size discrepancy: while the yacht’s flag measured four feet by six feet, the flag the city had in its possession measured five feet by eight feet. As of 2014[update], the flag has yet to be found. Dreifus started a website in an effort to get the flag back. A 2013 CNN documentary film, The Flag, investigated the mystery of this missing 9/11 icon] and discovered video evidence that the flag went missing hours after it was first raised. And as some of you may have heard in the news this week, the original flag has now been recovered. The discovery came as a result of a lead gathered following the airing of the History Channel’s “Brad Meltzer’s Lost History” in 2014. A number of scientists have now verified that the flag is authentic, and the flag will be unveiled today at the 15th anniversary of 9/11, on History Channel special on the flag.

There are other lost and found stories that have come out of 9/11; such as, a wedding photo that was found among the rubble that had originally been on the desk of a person who worked at the World Trade Center and how happy the spouse was to have been reunited years later with that photo that had been lost.

Going back to today’s scripture message we are told that when the woman finds her coin she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, “Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost,” and Jesus goes on to say of this parable…”In just the same way, I tell you there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Sometimes we get lost.  We stray from what God wants for us and do what we want for us.

I often hear in the mainline churches the question of why do the young people get confirmed and not come back to church – like they graduated and moved on.  And then years later when they get married and have kids they return to the church.  But God never stopped loving them.

Sometimes when I ask someone why they haven’t been in church for a while they will respond saying, “I am going through a tough time right now, so I needed to take a break.”  This is when we need support most.

We all struggle, we all fall short and we all sin.  When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden she hid her face from God.  It is like that for us as we want to hide ourselves from God.  The temptation to sin is often great and unfortunately consumes our lives through addictions the lead to broken relationships and pain to ourselves, those around us, and especially God.

But when we are lost, God never stops looking for us.  Even when we have given up on Him and turned our faces in shame away from Him, God is still loving and caring for us.  And he seeks us until we are no longer lost.  And when we are found and we repent there will be rejoicing among the angels of God.

God finds us in the rubble of our lives…and I leave you with these words from Isaiah 61…

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.


May it be so


Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
4:11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse–
4:12 a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them.
4:22 “For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good.”
4:23 I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.
4:24 I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.
4:25 I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled.
4:26 I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
4:27 For thus says the LORD: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.
4:28 Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black; for I have spoken, I have purposed; I have not relented nor will I turn back.


1 Timothy 1:12-17
1:12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service,
1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1:15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost.
1:16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.
1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Luke 15:1-10
15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.
15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
15:3 So he told them this parable:
15:4 “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?
15:5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.
15:6 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.’
15:7 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.
15:8 “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?
15:9 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.’
15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”