October 3, 2019


Being 'church' means accepting and welcoming 'the other' (Steve Givens, 10/02/19, St. Louis Post Dispatch)

"It is not reported how Zaccheus got out of the sycamore," Buechner writes, "but the chances are good that he fell out in pure astonishment."

If he was astonished, imagine the look on the faces of the "good" people around him --the ones who prayed in the temple all the time, the ones who paid their taxes and tithes, the ones who had been hoping and praying for this Messiah. Perhaps this was the one and now was the time. But then Jesus calls Zaccheus down from the tree and they begin to think he's not the one after all. He couldn't possibly be.

After all, he eats with tax collectors. He talks to Samaritan women and comes to the defense of prostitutes. He welcomes strangers and immigrants and feeds the hungry. He heals without prior authorization. He looks first with love and corrects later and if necessary. He sees beyond our national origins straight into our hearts. He's surely a lunatic, they thought.

But the joke was on them; not on Zaccheus. The joke's on us. If we want to be followers of Jesus, we don't get to waggle our pointer fingers at the sinners, the immigrants, the poor, and the hungry, telling them to shape up and live like us or ship out. We just have to love, to welcome and accept them.

"The unflagging lunacy of God," Buechner writes. "The unending seaminess of man. The meeting between them that is always a matter of life or death and usually both."

I think it's John Dominic Crossan who explains away Christ healing lepers as just Him sitting down to eat with the unclean, those who violated kosher laws.  This attempt to demystify Christ captures just how revolutionary He was and how comical it would have been to be at His side. 

Posted by at October 3, 2019 6:08 AM