The lost will be found!

I was heading over to Studland to meet Tony Higgins last Tuesday and couldn’t find the car keys. This doesn’t happen very often as they nearly always go back in the same place, but, having searched everywhere I was staring to think that maybe Helen had them, and she was out at the shops. So I rang Tony and we talked on the phone, which, with e-mail follow-up, did the job. But, where were the keys? I awaited Helen’s return.

A little alarm bell started to ring when I realised that the last time that I had used the car was to drive on Monday morning to play tennis. It, being a warm and sunny morning, meant that I was in shorts and T-shirt. As I was thinking about this, like Scrooge considering why the Ghost of Christmas Present hadn’t appeared when the clock struck one - while he was there, just out of sight all the time -I noticed that the washing machine was grinding away in its final throes of spinning.

The penny dropped, and I guessed that one possibility was that the keys were still in the pocket of the shorts. Are these plastic things with press-button opening water-tight? I doubted it. Helen arrived home. We searched further, then, as the utility room fell into silence, the shorts were extracted and the rubber Herdy key fob appeared looking cleaner than it has looked in several years.The keys had been spun dry and, yes, lo and behold, the car door opened! Like magic!

There are times when you think that the lost can never be found, whatever it may be. It’s amazing when things do reappear. I think that that is why Jesus was able to use his parables of the lost to such good effect: his listeners knew just what he meant. And, as for the rejoicing; yes, we know about that too. There is nothing much more useless than a car that won’t go…!

John Mann