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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 19:1–27

He 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.”

As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’” (NRSV)

When I was about twenty-three years old I attended the Goethe Institute in Munich, Germany, and learned to speak German reasonably well. A few weeks after arriving, I took a train to Landshut, a beautiful Bavarian village. When it came time to take the train back, I wasn’t sure where the station was, so I asked, “Wo ist der Bahnhof?” I got a torrent of German at such a fast pace that I understood almost nothing. I just smiled and said, “Vielen Dank” and walked in the direction I thought they had sent me. After doing this several times I was completely lost and had walked out of Landshut into the countryside, where I could see train tracks across some farm fields. So I walked across the fields and along the tracks until I got to the station where, in front of a lot of horrified Germans, I hopped up onto the train platform from the tracks below.

We are all on a journey of some kind, and what happens along that journey is often more important than the arrival or end. Jesus always took time to be present in the moment. In today’s text, Jesus was “passing through” Jericho. He was not there to meet Zacchaeus, but nonetheless he took time from his journey to stay with Zacchaeus and get to know him, changing Zacchaeus’s life forever.

We too should take time on our journey to be present in the moment, being open to whatever experiences may happen. We may notice a person needing our attention, and in that encounter we can change a person’s life. We may notice a piece of music, a tiny beautiful detail, and be stunned, awakened, by what had always been there but we had not taken the time to notice before. Those moments are when God is saying, “I love you and am always here for you.” Jesus knew that God was with him and trusted so much that he could even journey to face the cross. We too can face whatever lies before us, knowing that God is with us, always there waiting for us.

Loving God, help me to find you, finding me. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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