LABC Update – September 7, 2022
September 6, 2022
This Sunday I begin a three Sunday sermon series using art to draw us in and respond to the parables of Jesus. This Sunday we will read Luke 15: 1-10, the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, focusing on the parable of the lost sheep.
Catholic biblical scholar, Kathleen Rushton, provides these insights into the parables
The Lost Sheep
A flock of a hundred sheep would have belonged to a clan rather than to an individual. Several members would be tending a flock of that size. If someone lost a sheep that person would be accountable to the extended family. They would have been able to go off looking for the lost one without putting the rest of the flock into jeopardy. When the lost sheep was found, the whole family could celebrate.
The shepherd lifts the sheep and carries it back to the flock. I know from my childhood on a South Canterbury hill-country farm that sheep that had separated from the flock would often be distressed and refused to move. They would need to carried back to the flock.
The Lost Coin
By lamplight the woman searched for a drachma in her window-less house. This coin had the same value as a denarius, which was the usual daily wage of the vineyard labourers (Matthew 20:9). A drachma represented one two-hundredth of the annual amount required for a person to subsist at the poverty level. It paid barely for two days of provisions and other needs. Like a denarius, a drachma symbolised the money for daily bread.
Ancient sources tell us that the economic survival of families then, as today, depended on the additional paid labour of women. Then, as now, women were paid half as much as men. The woman is searching for a drachma which took her twice as long to earn. An interesting nuance is that the terms for her “friends and neighbours” are female in Lk 15:6 in contrast to male terms for “friends and neighbours” in Lk 15:9. Women celebrated with women and men with men.
As part of the service I will invite you to respond to this painting of the Lost Sheep from Jesus MAFA, a collaborative in Cameroon dedicated to interpreting the gospel through images familiar to the people.
See you Sunday,
Today on LABC Zoom – Prayer and Bible Study with Pastor Jim 10:30 (Studying “Changing Our Minds” by David Gushee, Chapters 5-8
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