Homily | Luke 19:1-10
Bob's sermon on the Zacchaeus story was NOT about Zacchaeus. The second lesson this past Sunday was the familiar story of the wee-little-man. What a great story. It might be the most familiar story in the entire New Testament. Yet, it is quite unremarkable. Nothing super-natural happens. We love it for its familiarity. Children especially understand the difficulty of being short. They understand being unpopular and left out of the in-group. Typically, we focus on Zacchaeus in this story: what changed him, when did "salvation" come to him, what does it mean that it came to his house, what caused him to become generous instead of greedy? On Sunday, Bob suggested that this story is not about the details of Zaccheaus's conversion. It is about the lack of conversion in the crowd.
The star of this passage in Luke 19, is the crowd. They do not want Zaccheaus to see Jesus. They stand in his way, deeming him unworthy to lay eyes on Christ, and unworthy of having Christ lay eyes on him. Both the crowd and Zacchaeus are jaw-dropingly surprised when Jesus stops, looks up, and invites himself to Zaccheaus's house. Zacchaeus and the crowd are equally shocked that Jesus would regard Zacchaeus as worthy of hosting Christ.
While there are lessons to learn by focusing on Zacchaeus, what if this story is less about Zacchaeus's conversion, and more about the lack of conversion in the crowd? Jesus and Luke both seem to have the crowd in mind in the Zacchaeus encounter every bit as much as they have Zacchaeus himself in mind. The crowd spends its energy guarding the road along which Jesus travelled. The crowd puts their shoulders together with their backs towards the unfit. They roll their eyes at Jesus' flippant acceptance and apparent endorsement of Zacchaeus.
We are the crowd. Who are we keeping from the road that Christ travels on? Who have we put our backs to?
Our hearts continue to lift up those who seek refuge from war. So many are losing their lives in a record way in a journey to a better place. We ask for refuge for those who seek it. may governments and communities seek ways to provide relief and may your church respond to the call of the innocent. And above all things we pray for peace.
Heavenly Father we lift up to you the Grace members who are having challenging times in their work environment. Give them grace, patience and a spirit of courage and joy to endure, overcome and bless their colleagues.
O Living God, who raised Jesus from the grave, destroying the power of death, raise us with Christ through the power of your Holy Spirit, that our lives might testify to the forgiveness and hope found in him.
Lord in your mercy...Hear our prayer
Women's Meetup is happening on November 15th. Check out the calendar for details.
Interested in storytelling? We're starting a story telling group in January. Contact Paula (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
EDGEWATER! If you live in Edgewater or are interested in being part of a new community group, email Caleb. We are starting a group there!