Sermon Manuscript: Lost and Found
A couple years ago there was a story in the Washington Post about a woman who gets lost every day. Mary McLaurine has an unusual condition called developmental topographical disorientation, or DTD. This means she can't form a mental map or image of her surroundings.
Unlike most people, Mary has no internal compass. Here's how she described a typical incident of dealing with her DTD:
I was staying a friend's home and decided to take their dog Otis for a walk. As I started back, I had no idea where I was. I was only blocks from where I had started my walk, but I was lost. Fear and adrenaline pulsed through my veins and I began to sweat profusely. My surroundings looked completely unfamiliar. It was as though I'd been dropped into the middle of a foreign land.
I hadn't written down the address of the home where I was staying. Walking in any direction would be just a guess: Am I getting closer to or farther away? Would I have had to knock on someone's door to use their phone to call the police? How could I expect them to return me to a place if I had no address to provide?
Talk about being lost!? Fortunately, someone found Mary and brought her back to the house. But what if no one had found her? She’d still be lost, wouldn’t she? In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about lostness. And in the story he describes a person who, if they aren’t found, would still be lost. Lost, and no ability to get back unless someone finds them.
Turn with me to verse 1 of chapter 15. It’s a story familiar to many of us. But, perhaps you might see something this morning that you haven’t before if we ask this question: “What does it mean to be lost?”