Encouragement, which comes in many forms, is necessary for healthy and faithful relationships. We have the ability to encourage another by offering affirmation. And yet, sometimes we should not be affirmed. At times, our encouragement needs not to show up as affirmation, but to show up in the form of exhortation, where we are encouraging others to live more faithfully.
The Biblical text never promises wealth and prosperity to the faithful. What it does promise, is peace, well-being, and unity among the gathered faithful. The English translation fails us when it replaces God’s vision of shalom, with our worldly visions of extravagant wealth.
For St. Francis of Assisi, the way of poverty wasn’t about living with nothing, it was about living without any allegiance due to money. It was about serving God, only.
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man …” or was he? Sometimes it helps to revisit the Biblical text to claim the truth of God’s Holy Word. This story may not be about repentance; perhaps it’s about revelation.
Jesus doesn’t sugar coat the call to faithfulness. He really expects us to sell our possessions and give the money to the poor. What does this mean for faithful disciples today?
In the flood, God intended to ‘fix’ humanity and creation. Instead, post-flood, we remain just as broken, but with God’s covenant promise to be our eternal hope and healing.