Keep on Looking!
Lost and found
by Helen Bryant (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider the relief that we feel when we find something important that we had lost.
Preparation and materials
- You will need two readers to perform the sketch in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1.
- Optional: you may wish to arrange readers for the Bible passages Luke 15.11–32 (the parable of the lost son) and Luke 15.3–6 (the parable of the lost sheep).
- Reader 1 (flustered): I know I’ve put it somewhere. The last time I saw it was last week, in my form room.
(Addresses the audience) Have you seen it? It’s my GCSE folder and it’s bright red. I can’t find it anywhere. If I don’t find it, I’ve lost a whole year’s worth of work! My teacher is going to kill me. (Freezes)
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. Maybe an earring falls out or you can’t remember where you put your phone. Maybe you have a habit of losing pens or glasses.
Reader 1 (unfreezes): I’m so upset with myself. If only I’d been more organized or less forgetful, maybe I would have remembered to pick it up. (Freezes)
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? You’ll probably 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 phone! You will have to accept that the thing you once had is now lost, possibly forever.
Reader 1 unfreezes as Reader 2 walks up.
Reader 2: Excuse me, is this your folder?
Reader 1: Yes! Where did you find it? (Hugs the other person) Thank you so much. I’m so happy! Brilliant! I’m not going to get into trouble now!
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 how this feels. (Illustrate with a personal story, or use the example below.)
Recently, I lost my clarinet. Not too bad, you might think, but this is the clarinet that my parents bought 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 had lost it was devastating. I was also worried about 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 pretty tight and I 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 that I take better care of it in future.
- The elation that I felt reminded me of the parable that Jesus tells about the sense of loss that the father felt when his son left home, and the father’s delight when his son returned. That got me thinking about Jesus’ other parables about the sadness of losing something and the joy of finding it again.
In the parable of 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 is when people realize that they need him and return to him.
When we turn away from what God wants us to do (sometimes, this is called ‘sin’), we’re lost to God and his ways. When we choose to return and ask for forgiveness, it’s like being found again.
Time for reflection
For those of us who are prone to losing things, let me tell you about a saint called Anthony. Many Christians believe that St Anthony is the patron saint of lost items. On one occasion, a novice monk stole a psalter (a copy of the biblical Psalms) from St Anthony. This psalter also contained all the notes that the saint used to teach his students. St Anthony was very sad and prayed for its return. Eventually, the psalter was returned and the thief asked forgiveness and continued as a monk. Now some people pray to St Anthony when they can’t find something important.
Read (or ask a student to read) the parable of the lost son found in Luke 15.11–32 or the parable of the lost sheep found in Luke 15.3–6.
Thank you that you always want to forgive.
When we get things wrong and go away from your path,
Please help us to seek forgiveness.
Please help us to be people who forgive others quickly.
Help us to keep our eyes open for those who feel lost in their lives.
Help us to provide hope in the world.