July 29, 2014: God does not close the door on us.

Posted on : Jul 29th, 2014 | By | Category: Still Speaking

During the last two weeks I have shared with you that the theology of “God closing the door of the Ark” and drowning most of humanity and creation is bad theology. Such an image is not an accurate image of who we know God to be. God doesn’t ever “close the door” on us.

The message of Jesus is all about God’s gracious, inclusive love; not exclusion or judgment. In fact, one of the most memorable scriptural images we have of Jesus is that of the Good Shepherd. If even one out of a hundred sheep is lost, the good shepherd goes after the one who has been lost until it is found.

Appropriately, that is the image that is in the back of our church. The image is on a stained glass window that was in the building previous to our current ones. That building was a big old wooden church. It had high vaulted ceilings and kind of looked like the pictures of Noah’s ark. So even before us, this church, like so many others, was proclaiming God’s inclusive love for everyone – no exceptions – through the image of a stained glass window.

In this week’s mediation, Richard Floyd tells the story of a boy in his second grade Sunday school class who was killed in an accident. He offers us a wonderful image of what it means to have God reach out to care for us – to save us, not “destroy us.”

May you be blessed by God’s inclusive love and may you find God’s love even when you feel lost.



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Lost and Found
Richard L. Floyd“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 who has been lost until he finds it? When he has found it he lays it upon his shoulders and rejoices.” – Luke 15:4,5

When I was in the second grade a boy in my Sunday school class named Kim was killed when he overshot the mark on his sled, went into the road, and was hit by a car. Nobody I knew had ever died before and his death left quite an impression on me. I remember my mother and father sitting me down and telling me the sad news.

Sometime later that year Kim’s family donated a stained glass window to our little church in his memory. In reds and blues it had a picture of a shepherd boy and a little lamb looking up at him. There seemed a tender bond between the boy and the lamb, and I imagined that the shepherd would protect the lamb from harm, and go in search of it when it became lost. It was comforting for me to think that Kim was somehow safe in God’s protection like the lamb was with the shepherd.

I saw that window every Sunday for the rest of my growing-up years until I moved away to go to college. That same fall my mother died. I came home for her funeral, which was at that church, and I sat near Kim’s window of the shepherd boy and the lamb.

I felt lost then and at various other times in my life and the image of that shepherd has comforted me. Here is One who loves us, looks out for us, not passively, but always actively seeking us out when we are in need.

We thank you, Good Shepherd, that through the trials of our life’s journeys, even in the valley of the shadow of death, you love us, seek us, and bring us home rejoicing.

Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.

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