Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12;
Entrance 546, The Hymnal 1982,
“Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve”;
Sequence hymn 96, VoicesFound,
“Lord speak to me that I may speak”;
Offertory hymn 607, The Hymnal 1982,
“O God of every nation, every race and land”;
Communion Hymn 85, My Heart Sings Out,
“God it was who said to Abraham,”;
Closing hymn 782, Wonder, Love, and Praise,
“Gracious Spirit, give your servants joy to set sin’s captives free”.
Habakkuk: a complaint to God. “O Lord, how long shall I cry to you for help, and you will not listen?” The LORD answers and tells Habakkuk to write the vision for there is still a vision for the appointed time.
Psalm 119 – justice an everlasting justice. Define justice!!! Your commandments are my delight….joy of hearing law, commandments as supports,
2 Thessalonians….we give thanks for you because your love for one another is increasing. What if it is not increasing? Will God abandon us??
Jericho and its memory of Joshua’s conquest. Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector. In the employ of the Roman authorities, enriching Rome at the expense of poor farmers. The Spirit working in him as in you and me to draw him to want to see Jesus. Wealthy making his living by adding his fee to the taxes paid.
What a scene. Jesus looking up and inviting himself to stay with this disreputable tax collector that night.
What love must have flowed from Jesus to Zacchaeus. Being loved is salvation, not loved for defrauding people and making them poorer, but loved because he became aware, thanks to the spirit of love already in him, of how he had hurt people.
Jesus emphasis that he came to seek out and save the lost.
A son or child of Abraham ……recall that when God called Abraham to go he knew not where, he was
promised he and his people
Would be a blessing to all creation, not just all humanity.
Might we like Zacchaeus realize how we must open ourselves to being God’s blessing to the earth. Jesus
comes to each of us who have climbed a tree to see this famous person.
The tree we climb may be St. Luke’s church. As we seek to be that place of love.
“O LORD, HOW LONG SHALL I CRY TO YOU FOR HELP.” THE KIND OF HELP THAT INDUCES IN ME A SENSE OF SELF WORTH. A SENSE OF SECURITY WHERE MY BEING IS NOT THREATENED.
AND MY BEING IS THREATENED WHEN THE VERY LAND THAT NOURISHES ME AND MY NATION IS TAKEN FROM ME LEAVING ME ROOTLESS. WITHOUT A SENSE OF BELONGING. NO WONDER I, THE CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR, AMASS WEALTH IN THE COLLECTION FEES FROM MY NEIGHBORS WHEN I COLLECT THOSE TAXES FOR THE ROMANS WHO GOVERN US.
ZACCHAEUS MAY HAVE UTTERED SUCH A PRAYER IN HIS SEEKING TO FEEL SECURE AND APPROVED NOT JUST BY THE ROMAN GOVERNING AUTHORITIES BUT ALSO BY HIS JEWISH COMMUNITY WHO SEE HIM AS ONE OF THE OPPRESSORS.
NOT AT ALL LIKE OUR SYSTEM WHERE WE GRUMBLE ABOUT OUR TAXES, BUT IN OUR TOWN MEETINGS VOTE THEM INTO BEING BECAUSE WE ALL BENEFIT FROM GOOD TOWN PLANS AND WANT TO GIVE OUR KIDS A NOURISHING SCHOOL COMMUNITY. AND SO I FEEL JOY AT PAYING THE SCHOOL TAX.
I REMEMBER A DAY WAS IT ALMOST FOUR YEARS AGO WHEN WESTMINSTER CENTER SCHOOL HELD A SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY CELEBRATION. A CELEBRATION OF WHAT YOU MAY ASK? OF WINNING SOME SPORTS PLAY OFF? NO. A CELEBRATION OF COLLABORATION. OUR HONDURAN GRAND DAUGHTER, WAS GIVEN THE AWARD FOR COLLABORATION BY HER 5TH GRADE CLASS.
HAS ZACCHEUS BEGUN TO DISCOVER THAT COLLABORATION IS NOT BEING A COLLABORATOR IN OPPRESSION, BUT RATHER A SENSE OF KNOWING THE WORTH OF ALL HUMANITY, AND WORKING WITH JESUS LOVE IN HIM AS HE GIVES AWAY HALF OF HIS POSSESSIONS TO THE POOR.
SO I FEEL JOY WHEN THOSE IN NEED, THRUST INTO POVERTY, ARE GIVEN FOOD AND HOUSING AND EVEN INCOME ASSISTANCE IN THE STATE OF VERMONT. BUT HALF OF MY POSSESSIONS. HOW WILL I SURVIVE IN REASONABLE COMFORT IF I GIVE AWAY HALF? IF WE LOVE IN A WORLD AND COMMUNITY WHERE WE CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER. THE PRONOUN “I” CEASES TO BE THE MOST USED IN MY VOCABULARY.
I WAS PART OF A WEDDING CELEBRATION YESTERDAY WHEN THE GROOM, EUGENE FRIESEN, REMARKED SEVERAL TIMES ON THE SENSE OF LOVE FLOWING IN CIRCULATION IN AND OUT OF THE SPIRITUAL BEING OF THOSE PRESENT. THE WEDDING WAS ONE OF THE MOST LOVING I’VE ATTENDED, WITH NO SENSE OF TENSION OVER WHETHER EVERY DETAIL WAS ATTENDED TO FOR SOME NOTION OF MY PERFECT DESERVING. IT WASN’T LOVE AND ADMIRATION COLLECTED AND
POSSESSED, BUT RATHER SUCH PASSED ON TO BENEFIT THE NEXT PERSON THE NEXT NEIGHBOR. THE CEREMONY INCLUDED A TIME WHEN ELIZABETH ROGERS, THE BRIDE, AND EUGENE FRIESEN. GAVE THANKS BY NAME FOR THOSE WHO HAD CONCEIVED AND NURTURED THEM AND THEIR FOREBEARS. A MOMENT OF SURPRISE WAS THE GROOM GIVING THANKS FOR HIS FORMER WIFE. UNUSUAL FOR DIVORCED PERSONS, ESPECIALLY IN A PUBLIC SETTING,TO GIVE THANKS FOR ONE ANOTHER.
EVEN IN ZACCHEUS CASE TO FIND HIMSELF DRAWN TO SEEING JESUS SUCH THAT HE RUNS DOWN THE WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED THE JESUS PARADE ROUTE THROUGH JERICHO IN ORDER TO FIND A SYCAMORE TREE TO CLIMB SIMPLY TO SEE THIS PERSON WHOSE LOVING HEALING PERSON GIVING WORTH TO ALL WHO SEE HIM AND WITH WHOM HE VISITS.
JESUS WAS SIMPLY PASSING THRU JERICHO! IT WAS NOT A DESTINATION OR EVEN A REST STOP WAY STATION.
ALL CHILDREN IF NOT OF ABRAHAM THEN OF GOD AND SISTERS AND BROTHERS TOGETHER,