Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Climbing Trees

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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 and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10

For all of us humans, it is hard to admit our needs and our shortcomings. We all have things to work on, things we struggle with and things we do badly. From getting enough exercise and eating healthy, to patience with others and our willingness to forgive. We are human and we need each other and God so much but we are often reluctant to ask for help. We pray nice prayers but rare;y do er pray honest ones, particularly in church. We don't like to admit to our shortcoming even when everyone around us knows and desires to help.

So we find Zacchaeus, who is willing to climb a tree and look for Jesus, look for God's love and transformation in his life, even if it means embarrassing himself in order to do so. A old family friend, The Rev. Jim Brown used to say, "the point of embarrassment is the point of redemption". So Zacchaeus is willing to embarrass himself, admit to his lack of height, his lack of morals, his radical need of God - in front of the entire community mind you - in order to be redeemed and transformed by God. And the critics on the sidelines, who know all too well his failings, want to keep pointing them out, rather than following along with Zacchaeus and finding God in their lives.

So today, I want to be like Zacchaeus. I want to seek God in every moment, not worrying about embarrassment and correct behavior, but rather considering the healing and transforming encounter with God. As we prepare our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving, may we all be thankful that God is passing by and always ready to bring us healing transformation and renewal.

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