Luke 15: 3-10
Any excuse for a party, that was Frank. Birthday, have a party. New Year’s eve, have a party. Summer solstice, have a party. New baby on the street, have a party. New neighbours, have a party. I remember when he got his new car. What was the first thing he did? He had a party!
His parties were famous. They were noisy and full of life. They started early so the kids could play games and have fun, and they went late so the adults could drink and dance. The thing was nobody ever complained about the noise because, without exception, the whole street was invited. Nobody needed a babysitter because Franks house was the first on the street and as it was a cul-de-sac it was easy to watch out for trouble. Many’s the time the party spilled outside and they blocked the street. Sometimes the police came. They never did anything unless it was the wee small hours and Mr. O’Donnell got his bagpipes out. (They scared the cows in a nearby field).
All the neighbours knew each other because of Frank. Their children played together. The old folk played cards together. There was never the shortage of a plumber, electrician, carpenter, because if there wasn’t one on the street then someone knew a good one local.
There was never any trouble on the street, never any crime. You couldn’t get in or out without being seen and Mr. Edwards was practically an insomniac. Even a fox couldn’t get in without being spotted. (Most of the time).
One day Frank came home to see a moving van outside Mrs. Patel’s house. She’d got behind on the mortgage after her husband had left, (good riddance to bad rubbish), and was being evicted. She cried as she drove away. Frank bribed the removal men to get her new address and went to fetch her back. All her belongings went into various garages on the street and she went to stay with Frank. When her house came up for auction the street got together, bought the house, and gave it her rent free. (To be honest, as much as they cared for Mrs. Patel they were just as glad to get their garages back).
Odd thing was that Frank was rarely the centre of attention. When Debbie had twins she became the centre of attention for a while. When the Johnson’s at number 14 won the award for best Christmas decorations in the village they were the centre of attention for a while. When Mrs. Foster lost her chickens to a fox, she became the centre of attention for a while, and for a spell everyone had to get used to buying their eggs from the supermarket again.
An ordinary street. A little Cul-de-sac. In the middle of nowhere really. Nothing special about the place, or the people. Ordinary people, ordinary lives, an ordinary place.
But there was one thing that these people had that others didn’t.
They had each other.
Thank you Frank.
So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15: 3-10
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