The southwest window of the Grace Lutheran Church sanctuary is one of the more dramatic scenes portrayed on the stained-glass windows of our church. The scene depicts a rugged rocky cliff. The scragly shrub, clinging to the side of the precipice, gives the feeling of steep mountainsides and deep narrow passes. Caught on the side of the sheer fall, halfway down the mountain, is the crumpled and caught body of the lost sheep. The poor animal has strayed from the safety of the path, in rough country, and the fall has left the sheep hurt and lost. The picture seems to focus on the body of the shepherd, stretched down the slide of the cliff, straining to reach and rescue the lost lamb, no matter what the risk, danger, or cost.
Jesus told the parables of lost things to remind Christians of their gracious God. Our God is like that shepherd who has 100 sheep, and when He realizes that one lamb is lost, that shepherd will leave the 99 safe ones, alone in the wilderness, and go hunting and searching for one lost sheep, until it is found, rescued, and restored to the flock. It doesn’t make much sense, as people think about it, but God doesn’t look at things the way most people do. Our God has a bias toward seeking and saving the lost.
What should produce more thanksgiving in a Christian than the realization that I was lost, but Jesus found and saved me? What should produce more joy in a Christian than the celebration of the birthday of the Son of God, who came to search out and save lost and condemned sinners like you and me?
(Text about the stained glass windows at Grace provided by Pastor Darrel Gerrietts, 1990.)