The theme of this week is “Returning to God.” With such a theme, we can’t help but think of death. Even though death is so close to us with reports of terrorism, school shootings, gang violence, suicide, and murders, it is a subject we don’t really like to discuss, maybe because we cannot fully understand it.

John Locke, a seventeenth-century English philosopher, argued that experience determines human knowledge. From this perspective, John Locke’s emphasis on empiricism (relying on experience) makes sense to me; we do not understand death since we have not experienced it yet and the dead cannot tell us what it is like to die.

As Christians, it is as important to understand death as it is to understand life. Death and life are two sides of one coin. Going to church on Sundays presents us a prototype of a circle of life. We go “home” every seven days and find peace and spiritual breathing space. Then a pastor summons us to “go out to the world” again.

We travel this journey called life in the world then finally arrive at our eternal home. Can you imagine the joy and celebration we are able to share with God when we arrive at our eternal home? God is elated that we are home at last! What a joyful day that will be! That is the day of ultimate acceptance of being who we are. That is the day that fireworks will go off in heaven because we are home; those who were lost are found. “Where, O death, is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

Eternal God, help me live my life to the fullest until I make it home. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 15:1-10

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Lectionary Week
September 9–15, 2019
Scripture Overview

Jeremiah’s warning of coming judgment continues. The children of Israel have become foolish, have ignored God, and have become good mainly at doing evil. God is going to respond to this situation. The psalmist describes the state of all who are foolish: they deny God and follow their own corrupt desires, including the oppression of the poor. The author of First Timothy, traditionally Paul, says that this was also his former way of life. He has been foolish and ignorant, a persecutor of the followers of Christ. In fact, he had been the worst of all sinners; yet Christ has shown him mercy, not judgment. Jesus tells two parables to reveal God’s heart. Rather than neglecting the ignorant, the foolish, and the lost, God searches to find each one of us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. How do your actions show others that you know God?
Read Psalm 14. When have you, like the psalmist, felt that no one knows God? How did you have faith that God would restore God’s people?
Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Recall a time when you felt unworthy of Christ Jesus’ full acceptance. How has that experience made you more grateful for Christ’s mercy?
Read Luke 15:1-10. In a world full of death and violence, how do you rejoice when God finds one lost person?

Respond by posting a prayer.