March 2, 2003

Mark 2:13-22

Then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. Again a crowd came to him, and he taught them. Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, "Come along with me." He came.

Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: "What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riff-raff?"

Jesus, overhearing, shot back. "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I'm here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit."

The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees made a practice of fasting. Some people confronted Jesus: "Why do the followers of John and the Pharisees take on the discipline of fasting, but your followers don't?"

Jesus said, "When you're celebrating a wedding, you don't skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!"

He went on, "No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don't put your wine in cracked bottles."

[The Message]


1. Can't win for losing? When the freedom of GOD strikes, the religious right doesn't get it, the religious left doesn't get it, the religious muddled-middle doesn't get it, even one's self doesn't get it. There is a sense that the paths are many. How does "the way" not seem to have a way that is acknowledged by someone? Even the disciples, in other places, don't seem to follow very well. This is Kingdom Come?

2. When was the last time you played with the riff-raff without worrying if their riff or their raff would rub off on you? If we are not playing with them, starting with the rules of their life, we are not able to diagnose and prescribe a more enjoyable game where everyone wins, not just the hoity-toity from which we would be more than willing to receive their smallest hoit or their most insignificant toit.

3. When was the last time you threw caution to the wind and feasted on your daily bread without considering the next day's ration? Have you recently not simply made do but been willing to go the extra expense to get the fitting tool, the right accessory for your ensemble?

When we smash these together we feast best in the company of the sin-sick and starve in the company of the spiritually-fit. How first-and-last-ish of Jesus in each situation in which he found himself. Quite the contrarian.