Devotional – Monday, April 6, 2020

Lost and Found
One of our favorite songs in Children’s Worship and Wonder is about Zacchaeus:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
A wee little man was he
He climbed up in the sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see

And as the Lord went walking by
He looked up in that tree
And he said, ‘Zacchaeus, you come down from there!
For I’m going to your house today!
For I’m going to your house today!’

The hand motions are the best part of the song. When singing about Zacchaeus’ small stature, the children get their little hands as close as they can to the floor to show that he was about as big as a Lego guy.  When Zacchaeus climbs up the tree, they reach for the imaginary branches, hand over hand. Once Zacchaeus is up in the tree, he looks down, and the children put their hands to their brows as if shielding from the hot sun. Then Jesus comes by and they look up, same hand to brow. Then the grand finale – Jesus telling Zacchaeus to come down from the tree. The children look up and shake their index fingers at the imaginary Zacchaeus as they forcefully tell him to come down. It’s hard to say what part of the song the kids enjoy most. I think it’s a toss-up between making Zacchaeus be smaller than they are and imagining being the boss of somebody for just a moment.

Zacchaeus’ whole story is in the book of Luke, chapter 19. After Jesus goes home with Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus has a conversion. Formerly a rich and crooked tax collector, he promises that he will give half of his property to the poor and pay back four times as much to everyone he has ever cheated. Jesus then tells him, “The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost,” v. 10.  

Here we are on Monday of Holy Week and the news is awful. The “stay at home” order has now been extended to April 30. We are advised to not only stay at home, but also to wear masks if we do go anywhere. Testing for the novel coronavirus has increased in Louisiana, but so have the grim numbers of infections and deaths. Hospitals are expected to be inundated soon and health care equipment shortages are imminent.   

I must admit to feeling overwhelmed and, well, lost.  

But didn’t Jesus tell Zacchaeus he came to look for and save people who are lost? If Jesus never taught us anything else, he taught us that he came to bring hope and salvation to those in despair. Remember the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep? Leave the other 99, find the one and rejoice. How about the lost coin? Same thing – Leave the other nine, take as long as needed to find the tenth, and rejoice. And the prodigal son. The father said, “Let’s celebrate! My lost son has finally come home.”

Jesus is not going to stand by and let us be lost. Just as he found and saved Zacchaeus, he will find and save us. He is with us, even now. How do I know that? Zion Williamson and other NBA players are donating funds to cover arena workers’ salaries. Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, are partnering with health care facilities and food services to provide over 10,000 meals per day for children and seniors throughout Louisiana. A local distillery has started using its raw materials to produce hand-sanitizing liquid for its clients to give to their customers. ExxonMobil and Proctor & Gamble have donated components for the manufacture of hand sanitizer at the Elayn Hunt Corrections Center in St. Gabriel. A Denham Springs millwork company has retooled its equipment to make face shields for health care workers. Nurses and doctors from around the country are coming to Louisiana to help treat patients and take some pressure off hospital staff. In our own church, people are working tirelessly to produce worship services and maintain communication among our members. The list goes on. Jesus has got this, and he’s got us.

Let us pray:
Jesus, as we begin this Holy Week, we remember what you went through, for us, during your last days as a mortal — the betrayal, the humiliation, the torment and the pain. For us, you endured crucifixion. And for us, on the third day, you rose from the dead. We know that, by your grace, you will find us and hold us tight, even in the midst of our despair. We love you, we trust you and we are so grateful.

In your name we pray. Amen.
Offered by Mary Thompson

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