That is when things really began to get complicated. About ten minutes before the play was to start, the sheep were out in the pen. They were until they were lost! Or rather, until they ran away! Apparently, they just got scared, perhaps from stage fright, hopped over the fence, and lit out for parts unknown.
The play's director, Ms. Sandy Mussman, along with her own two kids, then ran all through the town, chasing the sheep. "At one point," she later reported, "we passed a lady who was out in her yard. She said, 'Did I just see what I thought I saw?'"
Eventually, they tracked one of the sheep down near the Clinton Community College. At last report, the other one was still “on the lam” - though several people reported seeing it around town. The church's pastor was even out looking. According to Ms. Mussman, "When people asked what he was looking for, he'd say, 'A lost sheep.' Then he'd have to tell them he really was looking for a lost sheep; and that he wasn't looking for sinners."
In the finest tradition of the theater, no doubt, the show went on. After all, the first act was fittingly titled "The Lost Sheep."
As VBS unfolds at our own church this week, I am thankful that we will not be putting on any full scale productions. That way, I won’t face what this poor pastor did. And yet, at the same time, just like Chancy Lutheran did that summer back in 2003, any time we undertake Vacation Bible School, we are, in so many respects, looking for lost sheep.
For in Matthew 9:36, Jesus likens all people - be they men, women, boys, or girls - if they do not yet have a relationship with God through Him, to lost sheep. In that same passage, He challenges His disciples to go out after lost people and share the Gospel with them. And this is the reason we undertake programs like Vacation Bible School.
I leave you with these words from the 15th chapter of Luke's Gospel (verse 3-7):
"Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents…"
The AP Story can be found at: http://chronicle.augusta.com/