In a remarkable bit of coincidence the lectionary gospel reading came up in the Berryton UMC confirmation class this past Sunday. We were talking about characteristics of God, and trying to answer the question, “What is God like?”
When we read this passage the youth got the point immediately. They were immediately ready with the knowledge that the description of the shepherd who seeks out the one lost lamb in one hundred and rejoices upon finding the lamb and the woman who seeks and finds the one lost coin and throws a party shows us a God who delights in us.
I think children and youth are better at recognizing this characteristic of God because they see it mirrored in their lives. They have parents, grandparents, guardians, and other family and friends who all get excited when the child or youth achieves something, makes good choices, returns to the right course, and so on. They live in a world where people rejoice over them.
It is harder for us grown-ups. Adults certainly have success, achieve things, make good choices, etc., but our reward is rarely someone rejoicing over us. When was the last time someone rejoiced over you? Because we are unaccustomed to being rejoiced over, we have a hard time relating to these parables as adults. But the gospel calls us to remember that God wants to delight in us. Wants to rejoice over us.
Let go of your self doubt and criticism and enjoy God rejoicing over you.