Thursday, December 6, 2018

Luke 19:1-10

Frogs are low and slow, awkward and cold and clammy. Once upon a time there was a frog, the froggiest of them all, and he lived unpleasantly in his frogginess. Until, that is, the day when a beautiful princess picked him up, kissed him full on his froggy lips and ZAP! Suddenly he was a handsome prince. Not perfect, of course, and struggling to work out the details of princely existence, but transformed nonetheless.

What is the task of the church? To kiss frogs, of course.

Trouble is, most churches are built to keep frogs out. If you've ever been a frog, you know how hard it is to gain entrance to churches with their perfect-seeming people, plush carpets, careful moral codes, and general intolerance for the eating of insects. Stop being a frog, they seem to say, and we might let you come inside.

But Jesus. Jesus stops the parade through Jericho and turns to the froggiest of them all, Zacchaeus the tax collector, and says "I'm staying at your house today." At the end of the story, Jesus sums up his mission perhaps as succinctly as he ever does: The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.

To kiss frogs.

If we doubt this mission has been handed on to us, look at the end of John's gospel. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." It's actually fairly simple. As Jesus was to Zacchaeus' world, so the church is to be to this world in which we exist, putting into practice what Jesus achieved. Or, to mix in a wholly different metaphor, to play the music that Jesus wrote. 

If you're still a frog, there's hope. And if in some measure you've been kissed, transformed by the caress of love into a prince or princess yourself (though I daresay you still crave the occasional housefly) your task is to love Jesus who is transforming you, and to watch with compassion for frogs who need kissing.

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