Have you ever retrieved something from the “Lost and Found, and if you did, how did you feel?
Losing something can make us frantic to find it. We search and search, we retrace our steps the last time we had it in our possession. We turn other things, literally, upside down to shake out what we are looking for. We enlist the help of others to rally to our cause to locate that which is lost.
As I look back on my life, I’ve lost quite a few things that I’ve never been able to retrieve. I was born and grew up in San Antonio, Texas, my hometown. To me, it was an idyllic place, much like the fabled Mayberry of The Andy Griffith TV show. It was a sleepy town where every day seemed to stretch on forever. There was a feeling of safety and security and wellbeing in that place. I’m old enough to remember milk and cheese being delivered to our door by the Borden’s Dairy man. I remember ice cream trucks lazily cruising the streets with their carnival sounds and all of the neighborhood kids running out to get those frozen treats. Speaking of ice cream, I’ve cranked my share of homemade ice cream too. Cranked? Yes cranked, as there was no electric ice cream makers to be found in my childhood. We kids would play in the street all day and into the evening when the lightning bugs came out. Yes, I know, they are also called fireflies. But in my childhood they were called lightning bugs, and we would try to catch them and put them in jars to compare who caught the most.
The sights, the smells, the memories are all I have left of those days. They are gone forever, lost. I wonder sometimes if they might be waiting somewhere in an ethereal “Lost and Found.”
When I think of all we have lost in the lifetimes we’ve lived, it feels sad and an air of melancholy settles down in my soul. All of us, we’ve experienced tremendous loss throughout our lives. We’ve lost so much, and so much of what we’ve lost may never be found again.
If we look at our faith lives, there too we may feel as if we’ve lost some never-to-be-seen-again things. From my earliest memories I was always in church. I was baptized as an infant 20 days after my birth. I was quite literally raised in the church. I listened to all the great stories of the faith: Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Noah and the Ark, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Esau, Jospeh and his brothers, Moses and the Hebrew children, Joshua and the Promised Land, David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, David and Bathsheba, Solomon and the Temple, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Jesus’ birth, life and death, the journeys of Paul. These are the highlights I remember being taught about on a felt board with cut out figures.
All that I learned as a child formed how I’ve come to believe in the presence and power of God in my life. But somewhere along the way, I’ve lost a little of the wonder. I’ve lost a portion of the awe. I’ve lost some of the joy. I’ve lost what I can only term as my child-like faith. Do you know what I’m referring to? That child like faith that believed all I needed to do was pray and God would take care of whatever was plaguing me. I just knew if I were being chased by lions, God would step in and shut the lion’s mouth. I was sure if I was ever lowered into a pit, God would rescue me. Without any doubt, I believed God would not let me down.
I’ve been praying my friends. I’ve been praying for a miracle. I’ve been praying for all the lives lost to gun violence. I’ve been praying some common sense solutions could be found to remove this pestilence that seems to be plaguing us. We have placed our desire for ultimate freedoms above the sanctity of the lives of our children. I’ve lost my child-like faith which told me to pray and everything will be alright. I’ve lost that sense of God always intervening to straighten out our messes.
I have to tell you something though, I’ve been to the “Lost and Found” and do you know what was there? There, I found God saying to me I have all that is needed to solve whatever problem I’m facing. There, I found God showing me that deep inside God has planted in my mind the reason to figure out how to help solve the issue of us killing each other. When I visited the “Lost and Found” God’s presence was there, and not only that, I found that God’s presence has always been with me. It was me who felt like God was lost, but God was with me the whole time.
Some things are lost forever, they only exist in our memories. In Jeremiah 29:13, we are told “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” Friends, that’s where our heavenly “Lost and Found” resides, in our hearts. Its in our hearts where we will find a way to end this senseless slaughter of our children. Its in our hearts where we will find a way to get along with each other, regardless of our political persuasions. Its in our hearts where we will learn to love with all abandon and without exception.
I asked you how you felt if you ever visited the “Lost and Found” and were able to retrieve what had been lost. Let me just say, my faith is still forming in me, it was never really lost. What I found was, my faith has been enlarged and deepened, because I know now, God IS here. God is with each of us, and if we are facing things that seem too difficult, we just need to know God has already provided the solution. Its in you and in me.
We are feeling lost right now. We are feeling the loss of innocence and a loss of hope. Our children cringe and are taught how to barricade themselves to stay alive. Our trust in one another has been pummeled and beaten in many and varied ways.
Lead us Lord, to that “Lost and Found,” where we can retrieve what seems to be lost right now. Help us to find a renewed sense of your presence in us and working through us. Help us to find the desire to love enough that we can ensure everyone will be safe and secure. Help us to regain the belief that we truly can find you if we seek you with all our heart. Amen.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,