The first lesson for today as printed in our bulletin ends like this:† And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster he planned to bring on Godís people.† It could also be translated; the Lord repented of the evil which the Lord thought to do to the chosen people.† We donít often think about God changing his mind.† But in all the places in the old testament where it says God changed his mind we really should because: To change oneís mind means you have to realize that what you thought or did was wrong and that your mind is defective in some way.
Godís mind is not defective so since the story in Exodus is told from the perspective of Moses, I think we can say that it only seemed to Moses that God had changed his mind.† Maybe it was not Godís mind that was changed but Mosesí mind.† From Moses perspective yes, God changed his mind.† God was merciful when he should have, according to Mosesí expectation been wrathful.
God did not need to repent or change his mind.† He had always been with Abraham and Sarah and
Jesus came to us to lead us to repentance; he came to change our minds about who God is.† Changing your mind about God is the first step and the key to total repentance.† In order to have your whole life changed, we need to have our minds changed about who God is.† Jesus with the same mind as his Father in heaven has the truth that can set us free; he offers us his mind, his way as a replacement for our failed minds.
Our second lesson shows how our lives can be changed
when our minds are changed about God.†
His change of mind about God completely changed who he understood himself to be and what God called him to do.† He saw himself as the foremost of all sinners and yet as a full recipient of Godís mercy, called to live a new life.† Paulís change of mind about God transformed him from a persecutor to a proclaimer of Christian faith.
The gospel lesson for today about the lost sheep is one we have heard so many times that we do not realize how really strange this lesson is.† Jesus told this story because it was outrageous.† He asks the heirs of Moses, The Pharisees and the Scribes, the grumblers, about what a shepherd with a lost sheep would do, as if it were obvious that any normal shepherd would leave 99 sheep to find the lost one.
But that is not obvious, it is outrageous.† No shepherd would jeopardize his whole flock to go looking for one sheep.† This is not a detached, utilitarian decision.† A business consultant would critique the good shepherd for recklessness and inappropriate emotional involvement. It doesnít make sense to risk 99 for the sake of one.† But Jesus is saying that God is like this shepherd and that Godís behavior is like this.† God totally reverses what we would normally do.† So if we think Godís behavior is like ours, then we had better change our minds about who God is.
We can either ignore that our human minds are failed
and not like Godís mind or we could, follow the example of
Jesus Father leaves no one behind.† Jesusí Father cares for all.† That is how big our Godís heart is.† No one is left behind.† This is the very process of conversion.† You canít change your old sinful mind.† You wonít change your thinking until you
first realize how lost you are.† When you
realize your lost-ness then, like
This is not finding your self so much as it is being found by the shepherd.† You canít think or act your way out of sin or find your way home.† You have to be found, saved by Jesus who converts your life with his.
In just a few moments Jesus will come to us with more than food for thought. Jesus will come to us with the substance of his life, death, and resurrection that we might have our minds changed about God and that we might thus be nourished to live a new way. Come share in this food of repentance! Come partake of this mind-and-life-changing meal!
Why is it hardest to change the way you think?
How does what we think change what we do?
How can we put ourselves in a good position to learn about godís will for our lives?