Friday, January 18, 2013

Beside the Sea

    He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
    And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:13-22

Yesterday the sun broke through the clouds for a brief moment right before sunset. After many days of gloomy clouds and steady precipitation it felt like a load being lifted for a time. We drove down to the docks to watch the light dance on the water and to see the sun struggle to part the dense overcast. Behind us the mist clung to the mountains and in no time the sun was gone and it started to drizzle again. We have found that living here, we take every opportunity to be outdoors especially when there is sunlight. Things can change so quickly, clouds can come all too soon.

Jesus was challenged by who he ate with and his lack of fasting. His time on earth was short and he knew that enjoying every moment he had with his friends, disciples and companions was more important than dietary laws and traditional expectations. There are times and seasons for restrictions and self-denial. God invites us to celebrate the light and the love we have, when we can. All of what we believe to be constant and permanent is not. We are here for a time and we are invited to be ready to enjoy the love we have in the present.

Today I ask God to help me celebrate God's blessings in my life. May I not be bound with the need for control but have my eyes and heart open for new encounters with the living God. May we be people who are known for our celebration and our love. May we make room at the table for others different from ourselves and may we know we are blessed by their presence today.

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