Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Short Isn't Stupid
This Thanksgiving, I have so much for which I can be thankful. Foremost is that it is Dan's and my first Thanksgiving together as a family. Since we are basically foodies you could be forgiven for thinking that we are spending our hours leading up to the holiday debating the finer points of feast preparation. Fresh-killed turkey? Organic or conventionally raised? An heirloom species from a specialty turkey ranch? To brine or not to brine? High-temp fast roast vs. conventional roasting method? Cheesecloth covering or basting like Grandma used to do?
But, NNNNOOOOOOOO. As foodies, those discussions were all treasured parts of our courting time and shared cooking experiences together. Arriving at good conclusions together was a satisfying way of bonding. We used those talks and table times to build our relationship early on.
Today's scripture from Luke calls attention to the opportunity Jesus often used to build relationships around the table. Check it out-
 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."
Zacchaeus offered Jesus hospitality without hesitation, demonstrating that one of the ways we bond is to offer the hospitality of our company, of our time, of our attention, and sometimes of our table. It strikes me that Jesus also offered Zacchaeus a certain kind of hospitality by showing confidence in his ability to welcome him, the Son of Man, to his home and table. Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus' company as well as his salvation.
I know that the way we live when we are lost is worlds different from the way we live once we have bonded in those most special relationships: with our lover, with our family, and most certainly with the divine. Zacchaeus certainly discovered it.
Or, to quote my Art History professor, "Short isn't stupid." So we're debating going out for Chinese on Thanksgiving and gazing into each others eyes over the dim sum. What could be better?