Sunday, October 31, 2010
Hiding in a Tree
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." Luke 19:1-10
We all like to hide from the world. We wear masks of all sorts. Smiling on the outside, the face of confidence when terrorized and superior almost haughty face when we are feeling very vulnerable and small. We think we can hide from God, too. We think we can just watch from a distance, it in the sidelines among a crowd, take a back pew, volunteer a little and all in all be part of the churchy gang. In truth we know that we are weak, small and needy all the time. We want to see God moving through our lives, changing the course of everything and yet we are scared. We think we have too much to lose.
Zaccheus climbs a tree to see Jesus since he is short. But he also climbs to hide himself. He wants to see Jesus without being seen, finding a leafy perch where he can view God moving in his community. He has much to hide from. He has much toJ hide away. He is a broken man, wealthy and scorned by his own religious community. He has a job to do and he has political connections with all the right and wrong people. His life is compromised but abundant. And he wants to see Jesus, as we all do. When Jesus stops and talks with him, and says he is going home with him, this little wealthy, highly connected man climbs down and takes Jesus home. And more than that, in his gratefulness for God's love, he offers to right all the wrongs and take care of the poor and his community. When God gets close we can't help but be grateful for the abundance of love and forgiveness.
Today, I want to welcome Jesus into mu home as Zaccheus did. I want to open my heart and home, as scared as I might be, so that love and gratefulness can be my all today. May we all welcome Christ today so that love and forgiveness can flow through us like a cool mountain stream. May we all be conduits for God's forgiveness and love.