Zacchaeus was "short in stature" as we read in this Sunday's gospel passage (Luke 19:1-10). This detail is one that we perhaps often overlook. Zacchaeus was height-challenged, a challenge that many of us of "normal" height may not consider a big deal. It can be a big deal. For Zacchaeus, it very well may have been. Depending on how short he was, he may have been prohibited from full participation in the liturgical cult of ancient Israel. Indeed, in Leviticus, chapter 21, we read "no one who has a blemish shall draw near (to offer the food of his God), one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand,or a hunchback, or a dwarf..." Zacchaeus does not let it be a big deal, however. He does not let it be an obstacle to encounter. And Jesus responds to his hopefulness, and, in this welcoming encounter, Jesus lifts the prohibition. Our difficulties need not hinder our worship; au contraire, a springboard they can be.
Jesus encounters and welcomes each of us in our challenges, in our brokenness of body or psyche or heart. He comes to the home of our hearts to stay. Such indwelling sets us free. His presence does not necessarily heal all things (alas!). His presence liberates our hearts to love more, even making mysterious use of the challenges to do so, thereby granting joy in the midst of it all.
Let us eagerly welcome Jesus.
Yours in Him,
From the desk of the Rector