Once, we were all lost: without God and without hope in the world. There was no possibility at all that we would ever move towards God in order to find him. Nevertheless, the God of grace moves towards us in Jesus in order to find us when we could never find him. And he is full of joy as he finds us. This is the joy of the Shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the one that was lost. We, in turn, respond joyfully as we are found by God. We don’t rejoice in our own ability to find. No! Through Jesus, the God of grace has found us and so we rejoice with him.
Jesus, the Shepherd, finds us through the Spirit. He brings Jesus to us as the Shepherd who is joyful in finding us. He brings us to Jesus as the sheep who are joyful in being found. And so, the Spirit shares in our joy and the joy of heaven over one lost sinner who is found. This joy in the Spirit is to mark the flock of Jesus that is moved to ongoing seeking. We want to enter ever deeper into the joyful love that seeks and finds us.
As we do so, we discover that God is a triune circle of joyful love. In sheer delight, we know the joy of the Shepherd who leaves all to find us and who is joyful in finding us. In gladness, we know the joy of the Father who runs to embrace the one who was lost and is now found. And we know all this in the overflowing joy of the Spirit who draws us into the joy of the Father and Son who find us.