A Lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son

The locals here call Wrenthorpe a village, although it has long since been but a suburb of Wakefield! It shows the sense of community that still exists and a pride in where we live. That is great – until last Friday when our little field of grass, with a few swings on it, the meeting place for families and dog walkers, and those passing to go to the post office – was suddenly invaded by travellers!  I say “invaded” because that’s how it seemed to the residents. The mood at the bus stop suddenly changed, and the conversation on the bus, and any liberal sentiments were thrown into the litter bin. We hadn’t lost a sheep – we’d lost the blooming pasture!

While we were on grandchildren-duty this week we took them to the seaside, to one of those resorts that had certainly seen better days. I can’t imagine anyone staying there, and those day-trippers didn’t have much money to flash around. I went to buy a few chips to supplement our picnic – don’t tell our daughter who is very strict with the children’s diets. Having thoroughly enjoyed them, I suddenly realised I had lost my wallet.  It could have been in the chip wrapper I had thrown in the bin. I persuaded a child to lend me a very long handled spade to try and retrieve the wrapper, but the wallet was not there. Thoughts turned to thinking our cards could be used before we even get home – so urgent calls followed to cancel them! We hadn’t lost a coin – but a whole wallet!

Someone feels I have let them down, maybe even betrayed them – and I am frozen as they won’t speak to me. It is as though a friendship has been put into the bin. I haven’t lost a prodigal, but certainly a friend!

Only a few days after coming, the travellers have moved on (they had actually come to attend a local horse fair ) and have left the site in pristine condition. I got a phone call from the bank to say my wallet had been handed in , with even all the cash still there! Two great stories to restore one’s faith in human nature. But how would I have a felt if the travellers had stayed put and the wallet not returned? I think I have been found out to be an elder brother – judgemental of others, unforgiving and basically unloving.  I pray for the grace of the father in the stories Jesus told, and maybe the friendship can be restored.

In Christ’s love



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