Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Come down quickly!

"When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, 'Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.'"
Luke 19:5

One of my favorite pieces of this story (although the whole thing is a feast), is that Jesus reaches out to Zacchaeus and wants to stay with him BEFORE Zacchaeus does any changing of his ways. It was not a story of Zacchaeus repents then Jesus relents. Not one bit! All Zacchaeus does is make an effort to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passes by. Zacchaeus makes an effort to see Jesus and that is enough for Jesus to change Zac's life forever. For some reason we seem to put it all on ourselves, that we need to do this and that for God to love us. As if! There is nothing we can do to change God's mind about us...and that is the Good News! God already loves us beyond our own imagination.  Just the same, there is nothing we can do for God not to love us. God's love toward us is absolutely not influenced by us, what we do, what we say, how we behave. God's love for us just IS. It's awesome and wonderful and can be at the top of our Thankful list this week!  Blessings to each of you and may you feel much love this Thanksgiving. May we each feel the fabulous love of God!  Love, heidi

Monday, November 20, 2017

Of pride and pity...

"Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"
Luke 18:38

There is so much to unpack in this reading today (Luke 18:35-43), but what struck me, especially, was the vulnerability of the blind man shouting out to Jesus. As one who only likes to stand out for positive reasons, I shudder at the idea of shouting out and embarrassing myself. Especially after those in the crowd try to hush the man. My mother raised me to be a lady and that means don't create a ruckus (don't you love that word, "ruckus?")  But here this guy is, shouting to be heard above the hushing of the crowd, and then, he asks Jesus to have pity on him! Another vulnerability. Who wants to be pitied? Pray-As-You-Go talks about how pity, in itself, is humiliating. Who wants that? But there are good lessons to be learned from this blind fellow. First, persistence, rising above the shushing to make our needs or frustrations known. Second, not being so proud that we can't ask for what we need. Pride is a sin, blindness is not, the guy got it right. And finally, after he was healed and he was able to see, he gave the glory to God and followed Jesus. After we experience the presence of Jesus in our lives (and we should if we are paying attention!) we give God the credit and follow Jesus in everything we do. Every opportunity we have through our days to serve God's people by visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, you know the drill. Today, as we begin our week of thanksgiving, let's throw off our pride, roll up our sleeves and participate as fully as we can in the presence of Jesus, who is right here, right now. Love, heidi