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Between Sundays for Week of October 31, 2022

Sing it with me: Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he…

Of course, there’s so much more to the story of Zacchaeus than a commentary on his stature.  In their joint sermon on Sunday, Pastor Amy and Pastor Hoffman reflected on the possibility that Martin Luther was a lot like Zacchaeus perhaps.  He felt himself unworthy of God’s grace, but went searching, desperately wanting to see Jesus anyway.  Instead of climbing a sycamore tree, Martin Luther pored through Scripture, looking for Jesus.

And Luther did see Jesus in the Scriptures!  Through the Scriptures, he also saw God’s promise that Jesus could be found in the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion).  Seeing Jesus so clearly in these ways, he wanted to help others see Jesus as well! So, he translated the Bible and the Mass into German (the language of the people).  He utilized the newly-invented printing press to distribute the Small Catechism so families could practice the faith at home. He set words of faith to music that was familiar to people – tunes often sung at the local bar. Jesus was no longer blocked from view, inaccessible to those who didn’t know Latin or didn’t have the right credentials.  People could now see Jesus for themselves.

Where do we see Jesus today?  How do we help others see Jesus, too? These questions guide our vision of Building Lasting Community that follows Jesus.  If we want to follow Jesus, we first have to see Jesus. We want to build a community on the lookout for Jesus, a community helping one another to see Jesus.

Thank you for being part of this vision and for all the ways that you are on the lookout for Jesus on the move in our world today!

P.S. We talked extensively about what living into this vision will look like in the year to come at the Quarterly Forum on October 23, 2022.  You can find the livestream of that conversation here.

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Like the tax-collector, Zacchaeus, who makes an appearance in today’s gospel, we want to see Jesus. We also want to remove the barriers that keep others from seeing and knowing Jesus.  Like Martin Luther, who was creative in helping others to see Jesus in his day, we continue to seek ways to make Jesus known in our world. Listen in with the Bethlehem community as co-pastors Abby and Amy invite us to reflect on where we can meet and welcome Jesus into the ministry of Bethlehem by generously sharing our various gifts with the world.


Zacchaeus climbs the sycamore tree to see Jesus, but what occurs instead is that he is seen by Jesus. The outcome is a recognition that leads to salvation (Luke 19:9). In a blog post Paul Axton identifies the desire for recognition as primal. The recognition Zacchaeus receives from Jesus demonstrates the redemptive effect of desire.