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Cost of finding lost relationships
Pastor's corner
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Haven’t we all lost a relationship during our lives? What does it take to find the one we lost?
The words, “I hate you. I’ll never speak to you again,” can doom a relationship. An action or inaction can be just as effective.
Today, when everything seems disposable — even our relationships — should they not be most precious to us? At the end of our earthly life, relationships endure. The stuff we own will not attend our funeral.
After telling the disciples of the cost of discipleship, Jesus tells three parables in Luke 15 that offers a paradigm to examine the cost of finding relationships and their value.
The first parable concerns a lost sheep. Leaving 99 other sheep in the wilderness, the shepherd searches and finds the one that was lost. This parable serves as a model for us to venture beyond our other relationships  — the comfortable ones — to find the relationship we have lost. The uncertainties of the search are the cost we must pay to find this relationship.
The second parable concerns a woman who loses a coin and turns the house upside down to find it. As in the first parable, when a relationship has value, we will expend effort to find it even if lost in our own home. Searching to find that lost relationship closest to us is sometimes the most difficult. Imagine the joy when a relationship with a loved one is found.
The third parable concerns the son who took his inheritance early and left his relationship with his family to have a good time. How often do we abandon relationships with the people we love after we have taken everything they will give us? At times there may even be good reason, a reassignment or relocation due to job change. The son in our parable however, returns. He has exhausted everything. Even so, his father runs to meet him to renew their relationship. Responding to someone who has wronged us and who comes to renew a relationship can be difficult. Can it not be more difficult to refuse reconciliation? Is it worth the cost?
Each of these parables includes a celebration when that which is lost is found. Each involves effort that is beyond what might be reasonably called for. Each can be related not only to our relationships with others but also to our single most important relationship — our relationship with God.
He gave all to be in relationship with us. What will we give to find and know that relationship?

Carter is rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Hinesville.
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