Now it’s the second day of Triennium, so it’s Tuesday. No, wait, it’s Wednesday. We left on Monday, got here on Tuesday. It WAS Wednesday.
The scripture of the day was Luke 19, specifically the first ten verses, and the theme of the day is Jesus Sought Me. After breakfast, there are discussions with our group of 18. We were joined by a couple of women from Connecticut, who were their entire delegation.
Jerry, the pastor, led the discussion about Zacchaeus, the tax collector. It was a despised profession because they only made a real profit when they overcharged those who owed money. And he was the chief tax collector in the area, so he was particularly loathed
Verse 3: He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. The first “he” was Zacchaeus. But Jerry opined that the second he was NOT Zaccheus but Jesus and that Jesus was short.
Ha! That dovetails with my working theory that Jesus was not only height-challenged but homely as well, which I shared with one of our visitors afterward.
The broader message was that Jesus picked that unlikely guy, deciding he needed to stay at Zacchaeus’ house that night. The crowd grumbled, “Why is Jesus hanging out with THAT dude?” Zacchaeus declared he’d give up half of his possessions to the poor, and if he cheated anybody, he’d pay them back four times the amount.
The message continued later that morning in the small group discussions. I was probably older than the instructor and there was only one other person over 40. The rest appeared to be older teens or in their early twenties. I enjoyed the intergenerational interaction.
I should explain the worship services. It’s in a hall that holds most of the 5000 people attending the conference.
The session started, always, with what they called “The Energizer”, doing various exercises to pop music from a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift and BTS, the latter which thrilled my daughter. I thought it was, in the words of Frank Zappa, “enforced recreation,” but I was clearly in the minority.
Our group showed up closer to the start time of the worship services, but the Energizers started slightly before the scheduled time. The kids in our group would try to get there early.
There was a band who sang and played a folk/gospel/rock amalgam. They were quite good. The lyrics to the songs, all but one of which were unfamiliar to me, were shown on a couple of screens. It’s usually not my cuppa, but most of the songs were pretty good.
The sermons during the week, from five diverse speakers, were good across the board. They spoke of an inclusive, rather than exclusionary God, a God that would welcome even a tax collector.
While no specific political statements were made, it was clear that the speakers were cognizant of a certain rhetorical disconnect out of the District of Columbia.