As Jesus connected with Zacchaeus, he was transformed by thankfulness for his experience of God’s love. We, too, having experienced the transformative power of meeting the Son of God, can put our thanksgiving out there through tangible expressions of loving kindness, justice, and live into a future of possibilities. We, like Zacchaeus, can choose to express the joy that comes in recognizing our mutual dependence and God-created connections in community. Gratitude fuels our mission as we invite others to participate in genuine reconciliation, restoration, and renewal.
Spiritual experiences, like religion, can be both private and communal. In Jesus’ life, you see private expressions of faith (Luke 5:16, Matthew 6:5-6), but there are decidedly more public expressions of faith, faith in action, obvious, measurable, and expressed in justice and mercy.
For many of us, calling religion private is convenient. Easy. We can put faith into a box or a small compartment in our life and no one pays attention to it. Including us. It is not challenged, exercised, or strengthened. While a solely private faith can bring personal comfort, its impact is limited. A so-called private faith can may result in unwanted behaviors like pride, hypocrisy, judgement, and a kind of spiritual phoniness that becomes boring and unremarkable. We can do better.
God created us to live an authentic, amazing life. Pastor Kevin’s message this week about Jesus and his new friend Zacchaeus describes what happen when faith becomes public, obvious, and community-facing. While everyone else saw a “sinner,” a corrupt tax collector in a tree, Jesus saw an incredible person who could experience God’s grace, give thanks, and actually do good! An entire community was transformed. That’s transformation!
We should expect others to notice our faith in action and want to join in. When we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God in obvious, public, ways, all of us can live authentic, amazing lives.