Lost and Found - Luke 19:10 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

You know…I had originally considered a different message for tonight.  However, sometimes there are things that are just so big, you cannot go without addressing them.  Sometimes, you just have to talk about the elephant in the room, or in this case, the maze in the yard.
This maze was the talk of the town as it was going up.  Everybody wanted to know what those crazy Methodists were doing.  I liked how Brenda compared it in the children’s message to the story of Noah building the ark—because some of the looks we got as folks drove by were probably not a lot unlike the stares of Noah’s neighbors.
That first night the posts were up, before the walls went up, we brought Joshua to walk it, as part of his Seafood Festival substitute.  At first he was disappointed, but then, as he followed the lines on the ground, he became very determined, going back out and starting over every time he ran into a dead end.
The real trouble began, though, once those walls started going up.  Friday night and Saturday morning as we were putting up the lights and the decorations, it was nothing from someone to get into the maze and get so turned around, they could not get out.  They needed the help of either folks who had walked the maze several times and had the route down pat in their memory, or directions from one of us who were up on the ladder and could tell them each left and right turn from our perspective.
Once all the work was done, and the evening settled in, it was time for fun.  It was time to watch others enter the maze that had, at times, left our sense of direction all turned around.  We watched folks going in, some excited, some with a little fear and trembling, others reluctantly drug along by family or friends.  At one point I decided to follow folks in and watch.  I would watch as folks would make wrong turns…either because they simply made the wrong turn, because they followed someone else who was just as lost, or because they followed the directions on some very misleading signs.  Along the way, more often than not, a dead end would come with a scary moment…though some held out the hope of angels.  Some would calmly wander their way through…others would become panicky as they felt like they were trapped in an endless maze with no way out.  Eventually a few would stumble upon the exit…others would learn to turn the opposite direction that signs suggested…and still others would depend upon the mercy of someone who knew the way out to help them find their way.
The truth of the matter is, my brothers and sisters, that maze out there is a significant allegory for life itself.  We enter each day unaware of the twists and turns that we will encounter…our entire life, for that matter, is a constant maze of unknown twists and turns as we work out way to the exit.
Sometimes, we think we have a great idea of how our lives are going to be laid out.  We think we know the friends we will have, we have our school plans, we know what our careers or vocations will be, we plan out dating, engagements, marriage, and children.   And yet, it all it takes, whether it is for a single day or our entire lives, we make one wrong turn, and everything goes sideways.  Sometimes, things just happen, illnesses, injuries, natural disasters, and other unavoidable situations that are simply the result of living in a fallen, broken world.   Sometimes, we are forced down a wrong turn as a result of someone else’s decisions and actions affecting us.  However, there are other times, actually many times, the wrong turn is a result of our own choices.  We make a poor decision or we fall in with, or follow the wrong crowd, and they lead us the wrong way, often because they are just as lost as we are.  When this happens, we and we try to get back on track with our plans, we run into dead ends, we encounter consequences that scare us, we may even find ourselves aimlessly wandering around with no sense of direction…
When this happens, we need to find someone full of mercy and grace that will help us…that will reorient us…that will offer us direction…that will set us free from the maze we find ourselves trapped in.
In other words, we need a Savior.
The good news is, there is one available.
His name is Jesus.  He is the once who came, to seek and save the loss.
Like those who stood on ladders over the maze offering instructions to those decorating, Jesus comes to us from an eternal perspective.  He is able to see the whole of the maze we find ourselves lost in and offer us direction through prayer, through His Word, through those that He places in our life.  Sometimes those directions will make perfect sense…other times they will not, we are simply called to trust Him, because He sees it from a greater perspective than we have.
We can not only trust Christ because He sees things from the eternal perspective, we can trust Him because He sees it from our perspective.  He has walked through the maze we know as life.  He has experienced all the twists and turns…and yet He is the only One who has navigated the maze without making a wrong turn…and the only dead end He encountered was broken down when the stone was rolled away and the tomb was found empty—for through Him, a maze that had no real exit, suddenly had an exit…through His death and resurrection, freedom from the maze, freedom from endless circling, freedom from dying in the maze, was suddenly possible…for through the cross and the empty tomb…we now can exit the maze alive! 

Thanks be to God!  In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen!

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