This week we hear Jesus teach the religious leaders of his community about God's abundant love for all people through the use of stories. He tells two parables, each about someone rejoicing when finding something of great value that has been lost. While Jesus story invites us to recognize the importance of and inherent value of all people, he is also inviting us to reflect on the inherent value of each part of ourselves. While it is not necessarily true of the tradition as a whole, much of what popular Christianity has taught that denying parts of ourselves and cutting off "sinful" parts of who we are helps us become more Christ-like. The problem is, Jesus would almost certainly disagree with this view of humanity.
What if this parable was also a teaching about searching, finding, and rejoicing for all of the parts of ourselves we have "lost" over the course of our lives? Those parts we have pushed away or cut off in order to fit in, either to a religious community, a friend group, a family unit, or just society as a whole. What is a part of yourself that you feel you have lost? What would it be like to rediscover this part of who you are? Can you imagine the rejoicing in heaven when we retrieve these holy parts of ourselves?