The weather on the dock was surprisingly perfect - calm, close to 80 degrees and just an occasional cloud. We were pleased to be up north in time to enjoy it. The forecast for the rest of the weekend was not so favorable.
Then suddenly it changed. The cloud overhead turned dark and threatening. We quickly packed up and headed back - and just in time. As we stepped into the cottage, the first rain drops were falling.
But in our haste, I left my cup on the dock. And it was not just some red plastic Dixie cup - it was my Tervis Tumbler with an Old English D and a sippy-cup lid! We were barely off the dock when I realized my mistake. However, with the storm cloud looming overhead, I decided its retrieval could wait until after the rain.
When I returned to the dock an hour or so later, the cup was gone - blown off the dock, I assumed. The water was less than 3 feet deep, and I was still wearing my trunks, so into the lake I went to look for what was lost. Back and forth I waded, covering a wide path where it seemed like it would have drifted. My eyes scanned the sandy lake bottom, searching for my prized possession. I searched for such a long time that, when I was just about to give up, Monica arrived to be sure that I had not joined the cup on the bottom of the lake!
My treasured cup was never found (though I have not given up all hope - it could still resurface some day. If it does, I will be sure to tell you, so that you can rejoice with me).
Then it dawned on me. We are the treasured ones of the Lord. We are lost, in the lake of sin, but the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19.10). When we are found, two things happen. First, there is great rejoicing in heaven, for Jesus tells us,"There is joy in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15.10). And then we are transformed into members of the search party. We eagerly step back into the lake from which we have been rescued, not to become lost again, but to join in the effort of rescuing the lost.
Not all that are lost will be found, but there will be rejoicing over each one that is. So this day, if you are one who has been found by our rescuer Jesus, know that he is saying to you, "Don't be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong" (Daniel 10.19) as he sends you back into the lake. And, if you are feeling lost, do not give up hope. Help is on the way. "See!" Jesus says, "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. To the one who conquers I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3.20-21).
As one who once was lost, you can expect that this Sunday I will be found in a pew at Saint Thomas, rejoicing with God's angels ... and that this will be followed by my stepping back out into the world as a member of God's rescue party. I pray that you will be rejoicing with me the entire time.