Finding the Lost: A Christian Perspective

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Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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God is like a woman who sweeps and searches her home until she finds the lost coin she’s looking for.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a story that explains the crazy logic of God’s economy.  (Luke 15:8-10)

A woman has ten coins but loses one. Not a small coin in value: perhaps worth a day’s wages — at least $100. She lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and searches carefully. She finds the coin.  What joy!  But here comes the craziness.  She throws a party to celebrate finding the coin and spends more than the coin is worth to entertain her friends.

The Craziness of God

God is like that, Jesus says.  Crazy like that.

God seeks us

God will go to great sacrifice to find and embrace those who are “lost.” And sometimes, we can discern God in people around us — ordinary people, who search out the lost around them.20-year-old Michael Hill walked into a school in Georgia, with an assault rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and “nothing to live for”. Almost 900 children were in that school when that lost soul entered, having stopped taking his medication. Hill took hostage the school bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff.

Tuff managed to successfully negotiate between Hill and the police.

“We’re not going to hate you,” she said, referring to him first as “sir” then as “sweetie” and “baby”. “My pastor, he just started this teaching on anchoring, and how you anchor yourself in the Lord,” recalled Tuff, who said she was terrified. “I just sat there and started praying.”

And so in between updates with the 911 dispatcher she shared her own travails with Hill, telling him about her divorce and disabled son, all the while reassuring him. “I love you. I’m proud of you. We all go through something in life. You’re gonna be OK. Sweetheart. I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me.”

Eventually, while keeping police at a distance, she persuaded him to give up his weapons, lie on the floor and give himself up.

Then, at the end, she soothed him: “It’s gonna be all right, sweetheart. I just want you to know that I love you, though, OK? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life.

Antoinette Tuff saw a lost soul and sought him out in terrifying circumstances. Just like God seeks us when we’re lost, and just as we can seek out the lost souls around us.

A Prayer

God, I give you thanks that no matter how lost I feel, I can come to you in prayer.  When hopes are consumed by fears, when dreams are dashed, I can turn to you, and you will throw a great party and invite all the angels to celebrate.

And whether I feel lost or found, I know that you are so crazy in love with all of us that you will do anything to find me.

None of us would put everything at risk to seek one who is lost, would celebrate so enthusiastically when just one is found.  Your mercy, grace and love are boundless.

Search out those who are lost in grief and embrace them with your love.

Seek those who are ill and heal body and soul.

Look for those who have lost trust in this world, and wrap them with faith and hope.

Remind me again, in the silence of my heart, just how your great love for me expressed in Jesus, searches, seeks and finds me through your Spirit.

This is what it sounds like when God becomes present to someone who is lost.


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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Heather Donaldson says:

    What an amazing negotiator she is. How wonderful to hear both these women support each other and the troubled Michael Hill. The art of negotiation fascinates me. Thanks Morar for bringing this incredible audio clip to my attention.

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