‘…What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them…’ does not go to extraordinary lengths to search for it? (Luke 15: 8-9). When she does find it, how she rejoices. The Parable of the Lost Coin was re-enacted in our house last week.
On Christmas Day, with a five-week-old baby sickening for bronchitis, a three-year-old charging around amidst a sea of wrapping paper, my daughter, Rachel, opened her present from her husband, a very special necklace. On Boxing Day, she and family left us to visit son-in-law’s parents. A week later, I received an anguished phone call; Rachel had not set eyes on her necklace since that moment amidst all the wrapping paper. ‘Will you look for it, please, Mum? It’s a black box in a white sleeve.’ I searched every room in our house, under furniture, under items that had stood in the same place for years. I got very excited when I spotted a black box in a black sleeve, but that turned out to be empty – false lead. I carried on looking, in waste bins, in the sacks in which we’d collected up used wrapping paper. I peeped behind bookcases, lifted chair cushions, poked about in the dustbin. When I next spoke to Rachel on the phone, I hoped she'd tell me she'd found it in her own house, but she hadn't. I carry on searching, returning where l looked before, because I'm running out of places to look. I rang her back again. ‘Mum, could it possibly be behind the seats on the settee?’ she asks.
The structure of our three-piece-suite is sturdy, with everything fitting tightly. Pushing your hand, in between where the seat base meets the upright backrest, hurts, but, Dear Reader, I did it. I groped around the bases of our three-seater settee… and found… pens, checkout receipts, tissues. Crouched on the floor beside the settee, nursing my bruised hand, I could’ve cried.
Rachel doesn’t normally sit on the chair beside the settee… but I shoved my bruised knuckles between the armrest and the base anyway… I felt something. Yes, there it was. A black box in a white sleeve. Then I rejoiced. Oh yes, thank you, Lord, I'm dancing with joy in the presence of angels (Luke 15: 10).
I’m struggling to find a link between The Parable of the Lost Coin and promoting our crime fiction competition, which we are launching jointly with Alfie Dog Fiction. For more information, visit http://www.christianwriters.org.uk/competitions. Me myself, I love reading detective fiction, but I could never write it, but help is at hand for the first and second-placed winners of this comp, who will have the opportunity to choose from a selection of books on writing, including Masterclass: Writing Crime Fiction by Rosemary Rowe.
There is a tenuous link between the Lost Coin. The Lost Coin is about searching and so are many crime stories. Picture the poor woman, driven to get back the one tenth of something given to her on her marriage. Imagine how she probably started looking around casually (‘I must’ve dropped it in the kitchen. Perhaps I’ll just sweep the floor.’), building and building in intensity. (‘I’ve got to find it. I’ve just got to find it. It must… must… be here.’) Maybe someone stole the coin. It doesn’t say so in the Bible. But, just, maybe.