Sunday, 5 April 2009

My favourite parable

I have been reading some of the aricles on inclusive language that Thinking Anglican has linked to from a day conference organised in February by Inclusive Church and WATCH (Women and the Church). I've particularly enjoyed reading Lucy Winkett's contribution - as much for the great quotes about liturgy and language as for what she says about inclusive language. This evening reading the quote below touched me.

The parable of the lost coin is probably my favourite, if I could choose it for my funeral I would. I have often chosen it for funerals in particularly distressing circumstances. Somehow the God in this parable works for me - it's an intuitive rather than a rational thing. It's also a parable I have loved since childhood (long before even I was a feminist!) I can remember acting it out in Sunday
School and along with one or two other Bible stories it really stayed with me.
I would hate to claim to be a "more mature" theologian today but the image of a God who sweeps hard in the packed earth and dust to search us out speaks powerfully to me and moves me deeply. I also think of the three funerals I took and preached on this text, three sudden deaths leaving the families reeling with shock ... three children left without a parent, parents left without their teenage daughter, a father carrying his son's ashes the long walk to the cemetry ...

Here is what Lucy Winkett says:

If we address God as our father, yes, we are following Jesus' example - but this Jesus also told a beautiful story about God searching for us and rejoicing when we are found - a woman sweeping a house looking for a lost coin. Who is that searching woman if not God?
God is a woman who searches for us and she finds us, she calls her friends and is utterly delighted.