Reflections During the 2022 Blizzard
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Christ is in our midst on this beautiful snowy day!
I may not be in the majority, but when has that ever bothered me? I love winter and I love snow. A blizzard experienced from the cozy confines of home is like a dream to me. A book, a cup of hot (sugar-free) cocoa, a few candles lit for ambience and I’m ready to grab a quilt and head for the couch.
Over the last 28 and a half years I have cancelled services only once. I don’t like to and yet this time it seems wise and prudent. In the Blizzard of 1978 a parishioner lost his life trying to make it home on foot on highway 95. I, of course, was not here at the time and did not know him. But I did know his mother and heard her speak of the pain of his loss. This blizzard may surpass that one. So, I feel it necessary to cancel services for this Sunday.
Dn. Jeffrey was slated to preach tomorrow on the Gospel of Zaccheus. The reading of that story is a hint of what is to come. The Sunday of the Publican is only a couple of weeks away and Great Lent is right around the corner. You will find the story in the Gospel of Luke chapter 19. I hope you will read it and discuss it with your families tomorrow to keep in the flow of things. You may find it interesting to know that his name in Hebrew means “pure or innocent.” And that Jericho was preeminent in the production and export of balsam which means that Zaccheus’ position would have been one of importance and considerable wealth.
Meeting the Lord Jesus caused him to rethink his way of life. He opened his fast-closed heart to the welfare of others and Luke tells us that “salvation came to his house.” What did Jesus say to him over lunch? We are not told. It could well be that the Lord’s presence was enough to spark an internal theophany! Zaccheus exhibited great joy and happiness at that moment. Perhaps it is because as the holy people often tell us in a variety of ways, if you want to be happy, stop thinking about yourselves.
In this week during which we commemorate the Scandal of the Holocaust and the Martyrdom of Fr. Basilios Nassar in Hama, Syria, we would do well to remember that as Elizabeth Johnson says, “We can know God’s love only when we become part of it ourselves. We can know the God of compassion only in committed resistance to every form of unjust suffering inflicted on others.”
Ideologies like fascism believe in the eradication of the unwanted and undesirable, the folks who do not fit the officially approved pattern. Christianity, on the other hand, believes in radical inclusion, because, after all, Jesus did. Be safe, be warm, be happy. Christ is in our midst.
With deep love and affection,
Bible Readings for Sunday, January 30, 2022
Activities for the Sunday of Zaccheus