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Lost and found

To consider our relief when we find something important that we had lost.

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider our relief when we find something important that we had lost.

Preparation and materials

  • Prepare two speakers.
  • The Bible story about the lost son is in Luke 15.11–32; the lost sheep is in Luke 15.3–6.


  1. Speaker 1  I know I’ve put it somewhere. The last time I saw it was last week, in my form room. Have you seen it?

    Excuse me; I’ve lost my GCSE folder. I can’t find it anywhere! If I don’t manage to find it, I’ve lost a whole year’s worth of work! And my teacher will kill me. (Freeze)

    Leader  I wonder if this has ever been you? Have you ever lost something that’s really, really important? It doesn’t have to be a folder, it could be anything. An earring falls out, or you mislay a favourite CD or you can’t remember where you put your phone. Maybe you have a habit of losing fountain pens or glasses.

    Speaker 1  (unfreeze)  I’m so upset with myself. If only I’d been more organized, or less forgetful, then maybe I would have remembered to pick it up.

    Leader  Imagine, then, that the time goes by and you cannot find this folder, or the thing that you’ve lost.

    How do you feel? Upset, frustrated, unhappy? Chances are you may have to rewrite all the work that has been lost; you might even have to tell your parents that you’ve lost your glasses, or that you need a new fountain pen.

    You will have to accept that the thing you once had is now lost, possibly for ever.

    Speaker 2  Excuse me, is this your file?

    Speaker 1  Yes! Where did you find it? (Hugs the other person) I’m so happy! Brilliant! I’m not going to get into trouble now!
  2. Leader  The lost thing is found, and we feel elation, relief – all kinds of emotions. An appreciation of the thing that we thought had gone for good.

    I know exactly what this feels like. (Illustrate with a personal story, or use the following.)

    Recently, I lost my clarinet. Not too bad, you might think, but this is the clarinet that my parents brought for me when I was 12. It’s the only clarinet I’ve ever known. It has played in orchestras, bands, carol services, prize givings and music exams. It’s something that connects me with my 12-year-old self.

    The fact that I might have lost it was devastating. What I was also worried about was telling my parents. Odd, I guess, at my age to be worried about telling my parents something like that, but I know that at the time it was purchased, money was a little tight and I just couldn’t bear the thought that they might think I hadn’t looked after it.

    When it was returned to me, I hugged it like a long-lost friend, and I’ve vowed to make sure I take better care of it in the future.3.  This elation got me thinking about the parable Jesus tells about the sense of loss the father felt when his son left home, and the father’s delight when his son returned. And that got me thinking about Jesus’ other parables about the sadness of losing something and the joy of finding it again.

    In the parable about the lost sheep, the shepherd leaves his 99 sheep safe in the sheepfold and goes out to look for the one sheep that’s lost. When it’s found, the shepherd rejoices.

    Jesus uses these parables to show how happy God the Father is when a sinner repents and returns to him.

    When we turn away from what God wants us to do (that is, when we sin), then we’re ‘lost’ to God and his ways. When we choose to return, to ask for forgiveness, it’s like being found again.

Time for reflection

For those of you who, like me, are prone to losing things, let me tell you about a saint who you could maybe offer a little prayer to – St Anthony. Many Christians believe he is the patron saint of lost causes. After you’re sure that you’ve searched carefully for whatever it is that’s lost, then it’s time to call for reinforcements – St Anthony.

Sit down, in a quiet spot, if possible. Think about what you lost. Recite the following prayer:

‘St Anthony, St Anthony, please come around. Something's been lost and cannot be found.’

Say it a few more times while thinking about the lost object. You never know, once you look for it again, you might just find it!


‘It’s me, O Lord’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew) 256)

Publication date: January 2013   (Vol.15 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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