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
Many of us find ourselves from time to time, up a tree. We have lost perspective or can't see ahead for all the chaos surrounding us - whatever the circumstances that put us there - we are up a tree. We all try to live a good life but surviving and thriving, earning saving, all the life stresses adults face often lead us away from God's love and into a downward spiral away from faithfulness. It is in these moments when we can be assured that God draws near, calls us each by name, and comes to stay with us.
Jesus is passing through Zacchaeus' city and he aches to encounter the living God, as we all do. But being small he has to climb a tree. Most grown ups don't climb trees as easily as they did when a child. It was a struggle to climb up just to see God's love incarnate, and he must have been excited and terrified all at the same time. God invites us to recognize ourselves in Zacchaeus' role - up a tree. We are invited to see God stopping along the way, calling us each by name, reaching out a hand to help us down and then coming home with us.
Today I ask God to help me know when I am troubled and feeling up a tree, that I can rest in the knowledge that God is coming by, seeking me out and restoring me. May we all, in the midst of our struggles, seek out the incarnate love of God, who is calling is in the midst of chaos and taking us home.