I Remember Now ~ Today Salvation Has Come ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 33
“Today salvation has come” (Luke 19: 9)
If you’re like me, you could use some salvation about now. Holy Crap. I won’t go through the litany (we all know too well) of everything coming down in this country/world. But the shooting of elementary children in Uvalde TX, and in Buffalo NY really hit me hard. Like you, I have felt overwhelming despair and heartbreak. To be honest, I’ve wrestled with true hopelessness.
Then, I felt a story from the gospel of Luke (19: 1-10). By “felt”, I mean I experienced the story.
The story is about Zacchaeus, described as “a chief tax collector and was rich.” FYI: tax collectors were often Jewish people who were sell outs. They collected taxes from their own people, for their people’s oppressor, Rome. If this wasn’t bad enough, they were known to take more than required and to keep the extra as an additional “tip”, if you will. They were obviously hated and despised by the Jewish people.
In the story, Jesus enters Jericho. Zacchaeus, being curious about Jesus and vertically challenged, climbs a tree to be able to see. Jesus stops at the tree and says to Zac “get down, I must go to your house today.” Of course he’s criticized for his kindness to “a sinner.” Jesus apparently sends Zac such an energy of such profound love and acceptance, that Zac says something profound. “Half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I’ve defrauded anyone, I will pay back four times as much.”
Jesus then says “today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
There are many things “hidden in plain sight” in the gospels of the New Testament, that the Church has never really picked up on. In this case, what “salvation” or “being saved” meant to Jesus. The Christian Church has taught that salvation is primarily about believing the right things about yourself and Jesus. Salvation is about getting your soul saved, so you go to heaven when you die.
Believing the “right” things include:
1. Believing your true nature is found in being a sinner, and “repenting” of your nature.
2. Believing that Jesus died for your sins, convincing God to then love and accept you.
But in this story, while he is judged a sinner by everyone there, Jesus calls him “a son of Abraham”. In other words, a child of God. Jesus demonstrates God’s unconditional love for him, by rebelling against cultural norms and inviting himself to Zac’s house. Which in that culture is an expression of acceptance. A definite religious and cultural NO NO!
But here, hidden in plain sight, is how Jesus understood salvation. For him, salvation is not about getting into heaven when you die. Salvation is about heaven coming to earth. In other words, salvation occurs when one is realigned with their true nature, which is love and Oneness with God and all things.
Zac’s true nature rises up within him and all he wants is to love. Period.
In my despair over Uvalde and Buffalo, I began thinking about what I can do in response to the horror and blindness. I wrote my representatives in government regarding gun reform. I attended the March For Our Lives event in Minneapolis. And will forever remember seeing another little person like Zac. A boy (about 5), standing with his father, holding up a sign as high as he could, saying “Protect Kids. Not Guns.” His body and energy emanating hope, innocence, and love. He looked so much like my grandson, Soren. That says it all.
But it was when I thought of volunteering at an elementary school that I truly experienced my salvation. I found myself wanting to do nothing more than show kindness to the children. When I envisioned that, I could literally feel the salvation and healing of my soul. It was clearly telling me, “Yes! There is your salvation.” I felt hope and realignment again.
Zac simply forgot who and what he really was. Jesus reminded him. Not only unconditionally, irrevocably loved by God, but actually was that Love himself!
In my despair, I too forgot. And now I am remembering. What will help me/us remember is to be intentional about Love.
You are Love! Remember (and live) that, and salvation will always come.
Pastor Tim Tengblad
I welcome your comments, questions, and your story.