Collect: Some people around the world are willing to do anything to
see Jesus. Today we have proven that when the time comes for
anyone to search for Jesus, he will find Him.
Lord, give us the courage through our worship to do your will this day
and every day, in all our acts of giving and kindness,
in all our intentions of heart and spirit. Amen.
From the desk of the minister:
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners..
The story of Zacchaeus is a well-known story in the bible. I still remember
from my Sunday school years about the short man who want to see Jesus
but because he was so short, he was not able to see him because of the crowd.
He runs ahead of them and climbs a sycamore tree so he can see Jesus.
Well today, the Gospel reading is about this man! During this time of Jesus,
tax collectors are universally disliked, even hated, at least by the local Jewish
population in Galilee, firstly because their work brought them into close
contact with the Gentiles, and secondly, because it was their practice to extract
as much as they could from their victims (the Jewish people). Zacchaeus was
so rich because of his cunning ways of taking so much from his own people.
According to Luke, Jesus is on his journey to the cross and the story today is
the final crossing of Jesus in Jericho. For this rich tax collector Zacchaeus, he
had everything to satisfy his physical needs but his spiritual life is bankrupt.
The time is right for him to seek Jesus. He must have thought that this is his
only chance to change his life forever. We don’t know what motivates him to
look for Jesus but he makes the effort to go and seek Jesus. Well, Zacchaeus
was in the right place and right time for Jesus to look up at the sycamore tree.
He said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your
house today.” Later, Jesus said to him, “today salvation has come to this
house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man
came to seek and to save the lost.” This is our reminder for today. Jesus
comes to save us from our sins. This is our only chance, when we are still
alive. Grab hold of the opportunity while we can!
Grace & peace, Rev Maile
Collect: Lord, we say that we are yours, yet even as we gather, our
minds are distracted by the small and large things that have
happened to us, as well as by our plans for later today and later this
week. We are your imperfect people in our gathering. Still our hearts
and focus our minds upon our worship, as we seek to call to mind not
only your many blessings, but your glory, which is perfect and your
kingdom, which is peace itself. Honour our intentions, Lord, more
than our actions. We seek to become your will, to be truly yours,
as individuals and as your people. We praise you this day, Amen.
From the desk of the minister: The danger of arrogance
I do believe that it is very difficult to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ without
authenticity. There is an essential agreement of belief and practice that is a
part of the character of Christ-followers; faith is reflected in word, works, and
outlook. In this parable, the tax collector is an unlikely model of repentance
and humility. Unlike the Pharisee in the story, his authenticity of character
understands what it is to express genuine remorse. He is the only one who
demonstrates true contrition, despite his shady profession.
The Pharisee and the tax collector both went up to the temple to pray.
But there the similarities end and the dissimilarities begin. Firstly, they had
an entirely different opinion of themselves. Five times the Pharisee used the
personal pronoun “I”. But the tax collector used it only once and in the
accusative nature, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.
This IS the language of true penitence.
The Pharisee on the other hand did not expect the tax collector to be forgiven,
he did not have any chance at all. The Pharisee stood head high, proud,
preoccupied with himself, whereas the tax collector stood at a distance, eyes
downcast and beating his breast, begging the need of the forgiveness of God.
The Pharisee trusted in himself that he was righteous, while the tax collector
trusted in God mercy alone. We are reminded from this story, never look
down on someone that is not like you. We may regard ourselves as Christians
for so long, but the real deal comes from God. His grace and mercy are
available to those who genuinely need it.
Grace & peace, Rev Maile