The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss ~ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 19:1-10.

If you had the opportunity to eat lunch with Jesus, what would you discuss?

(*I would probably start with “why can’t we end sentences with prepositions!? I spent too much time devising a way to ask this question without ending the question with a preposition! … and then I would segue to a much deeper, more reflective topic… I hope!)

I asked this question on social media this week. The answers – like the song from my childhood Sunday School days – were deep and wide. Some wanted to know about certain biblical figures, teaching methods, and characters we meet in Scripture. Others said they would sit in the silence of the sacred moment to listen…hoping that moment would last a lifetime. Still others said they would ask Jesus what he wanted them to do next.

One person wondered if he would know Jesus was his lunch partner before the breaking of the bread!?

(I smiled…I like when bigger kids (*ahem* – adults) overhear the Children’s Moment.)

One response from my informal poll continues to linger with me – much like a word or phrase in the sacred listening of Scripture practiced in Lectio Divina. A friend – that said on the day we met, “you are a pastor and a girl; how cool is that!?” (And it is very cool, if I do say so myself!) wrote, “Did you ever think you wouldn’t do it?”

Did you ever think you wouldn’t do it?

When I first read this question, my mind immediately jumped to Jesus’ death and resurrection. But as I reflect on it further, I realize that Jesus could have backed out at any moment.

I tried; they didn’t follow, so I’m done… 

No…I do not feel like teaching today…

You want me to heal you!?…

Ummm no…I do not associate with folks like that…

Leave heaven for earth? For them? Now why would I want to go and do that?…

Ever thought about that?

No? Me neither.

(Thank you, Patricia.)

The Gospels share a common theme – Jesus’ pursuit of us in and because of love. There is no place he would not and did not go. There is not one thing he did not do. Folks heaped ridicule and scorn upon him until eventually they heaped Jesus up on the cross…

There was that moment in the garden where Jesus asked if the cup might be passed from him…it was the cup he shared – received and gave – again and again at countless meals throughout his life. If he passed that Gethsemane cup, how might that change the efficacy of all the other cups he shared in and because of love throughout his ministry – including the cup shared with wee Zacchaeus after he descended from the sycamore-fig tree?

If you had the opportunity to eat lunch with Jesus, what would you discuss? What cup would you receive from him? And what cup would you share?

Prayer: “As Christ breaks bread, and bids us share, each proud division ends. The love that made us, makes us one, and strangers now are friends, and strangers now are friends.”* Amen.

*”I Come With Joy,” The United Methodist Hymnal 617.

A Special Treat

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 19:1-10 (Morningsong) and 1 Samuel 17 (11am Blended Worship)

On Monday Andrew and I took his brother, Josh, a pumpkin. Josh is interred at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell and Halloween was (is) his favorite holiday. Oh the mischief Andrew and Josh would cause on Halloween.

One Halloween they kept changing their costumes – full wardrobe changes at first and then only minor changes towards the end – as they revisited the same house again and again. Why that house? Four words: full.size.candy.bars.

Andrew and Josh did not start out as friends. They started out having a fist fight…and then they became friends. And once they were friends, the two were instantly brothers. If you were to ask my in-laws or Josh’s parents, I am sure they would say that a common phrase between Andrew and Josh was “I am coming to your house today!” To hang out, to sleep over, to build something in the garage, to scheme the next prank, to plot resistance against “the man” (whatever or whoever “the man” was that week), to laugh, to live. “I am coming to your house today.”

Wherever Josh was, there Andrew would be and vice versa.

My heart breaks because Andrew cannot have those experiences with Josh right now…but that will not be the case forever. We trust, we believe faithfully that God is bringing us all – bringing them – together again.

Jesus shocked the crowd when he announced that he was going to Zacchaeus’ house. Perhaps some hoped that Jesus was going there to “clean house” or spare Zacchaeus the public ridicule and shame of being rebuked by the Savior before his peers. But that was not Jesus’ intent. Jesus’ intent was to build community and include rather than further exclude the tax collector. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus, who had been so far from Jesus as evidenced by his behavior, to come near to him. Zacchaeus, this tax collector, this culturally despised man, this swindler, this con – Jesus had so many reasons to come to blows with this man. And yet Jesus does not throw a fist, but offers a hand. “I am coming to your house today.”

Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk 8:21). Through his repentance and reconciliation – through admitting his wrong and repaying his neighbors – Zacchaeus turned his will towards the Father’s and embraced his kinship with Jesus.

We visit Josh to remember. We visit Josh so that Andrew and Josh can hang out. We visit Josh so Andrew can tell him what has been built in the garage, report on completed pranks, update resistance plans, and laugh. We visit Josh as an act of living and leave Josh’s side with a renewed sense of calling: Who will we invite to our house today? What homes will we ask to enter? What new and continuing relationships will we nurture? How will we see Christ in others and invite them to see Christ in us?

Remember this Sunday’s treat: Join me for the 8:30 Morningsong Service and then plan to stay for worship at 11am as Andrew preaches on David and Goliath from I Samuel. I am looking forward to my time at both Tusakwilla and Azalea Park UMCs this weekend! The Millers are excited to see you in worship on Sunday!

Prayer: “Called forth from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth; our charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth. One holy name professing and at one table fed, to one hope always pressing, by Christ’s own Spirit led.” Amen.

*”The Church’s One Foundation,” The United Methodist Hymnal 546.