Like every Christian congregation around the world, we meet because God has reached out in love to a wayward world. Jesus said that he had come “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). We often speak about a lost dog, a lost child or a lost mobile phone at times when we still hope to find them again. At such times we hope that what is lost is really just misplaced. But when we have truly lost something or someone – forever – it is tragic. And Jesus was sent by his Father to a human race that was deeply and tragically lost, estranged from God through sin, and under his anger.
The sad truth is that most of the world continues to live in this lostness, either because they have not heard of Jesus, or because they do not give him a second thought. But to those who hear his invitation to turn back to our heavenly Father, there is a rich welcome, forgiveness, and the certain hope of living under God’s blessing forever. All of this is won for us by Jesus’ powerful death and resurrection. And so every Christian can sing the famous words: “I once was lost but now am found” (from John Newton’s Amazing Grace).
Church is a gathering of people who were lost and have now been found through Jesus’ rescue mission. In this shared connection to Jesus Christ, we have also become God’s family, and brothers and sisters to each other. Church is not for people who are already perfect, but it is for people who are on a journey together, through this world’s wilderness, and who want to help each other stay faithful to Jesus to the end.