October 30, 2007

Looking Ahead to November 4, 2007 -- 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings for this week are:
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
  • Psalm 119:137-144 (VU p.841 Part 6)
  • From the Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

The Hymns for this Sunday are:

  • 371 Open My Eyes, That I May See
  • 583 Jesus Came, A Child Like Me
  • 578 As a Fire is Meant for Burning (Tune #374)
  • 593 Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love

The sermon title is The Price of Sight

Early Thoughts: What happens when we are caught up in the presence of Christ? WHat happens when we let our hearts and minds be changed? Is there a price to be paid?

The story of Zaccheus is one many of us remember from SUnday School. Poor Zacchesu was caught up in the excitement of Jesus' approach but was too short to see over the crowd. SO he climbs a tree, only to have Jesus come over and say "Come down, I am going to eat with you today"

The kicker comes in what happens over dinner. Zaccheus pledges to give away his income. Tax collecting in many emireswas a brutal business. It was expected that the tax collector could make money by extorting more tax money from his clients. Zaccheus pledges to give that amount away, four fold. There is a price in meeting Jesus.

Now some scholars debate the story we all know. The Greek text is unclear about whether Zaccheus was too short to see over the crowd or Jesus was the short one. The text is unclear if Zaccheus is making a pledge or describing his current practice (although the last couple of sentences clearly suggest that this was a new behaviour). But the point remains. If Zaccheus was not already doing this he has been moved to do so. If he was, he is pledging to continue. THe cost of meeting Jesus was willingly taken on.

The other point worth mentioning is that Jesus invited himself to dinner. Doubtless there were many in the crowd who would have willingly said "come to my place" but Jesus chose Zaccheus (to the horror of those who were watching). When the Christ invites himself to our homes and hearts what do we do? WHat happens if we are as moved as Zaccheus?

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