Last Night at BSM

August 10, 2015

razzledazzleLast night, Rev. David Norse preached on Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, and the deployment of privilege in surprising ways. Both Jesus and Zacchaeus find themselves in this story with a lot of privilege. Jesus’ ministry is on a roll, he’s healing people like a boss. Zacchaeus is making a healthy living for himself, taxing his neighbors, giving his dues to the powers that be, and putting a little aside for himself to live off of.
But everything’s not quite as it seems.
Jesus keeps talking about getting killed, and Zacchaeus is cut off from the blessing of companionship because of his predatory financial practices. Then the Power of the Gospel comes in. Jesus’ death will be met with Resurrection. Zacchaeus is offered the opportunity to extend lavish hospitality to Jesus and be in fellowship with God.
Everything’s going to be great, right? Jesus is going to be nice to rich Zacchaeus and everyone will be friends. It’s at this point that the crowd starts to grumble.
I want to explore the grumbling crowd (that I identify with) & Zacchaeus. “Why is this holy man a guest of sinners who profit of off defrauding his neighbors? Where’s the fiery prophetic Jesus?” I ask. Something beautiful happens when the crowd starts to grumble; Zacchaeus finally sees an opportunity to do something that no one, except Jesus, expects.
No one can see the direction Jesus’ Ministry is going to go. Looking back, the disciples can almost piece it together, but we’re almost always surprised by what God does in the world.
And no one saw Zacchaeus deploying his privilege like he does. Jesus points out this is what the Gospel is about; surprising deployments of privilege and grace by the Living God and unlikely Sinner Saints.
To explain this I will be talking about Dazzle Camouflage, where we get the term Razzle Dazzle from. The idea behind this camo is not to hide a ship, but to make it difficult to know which direction the ship is headed. In dazzling us, it becomes difficult to guess where the ship is headed, and where to aim at it to sink it.
As followers of Jesus, the Gospel Razzle Dazzle is infuriating and frustrating; we don’t rightly know which direction Jesus is headed, but we know we’re to follow this wild, living God. So what do we do? Well sometimes we deploy our privilege with the same wild abandon as Zacchaeus, in order to tear down the walls that alienate us from our neighbors. And when we’re the grumbling crowd, we can check ourselves; is it possible that God is at work at in this moment? What transformation is afoot? Our default setting is to be jaded, far too jaded to risk partnering with the living God. But maybe, every once in a while, we can take our sites off of sinking ships passing in the night and welcome the Gospel into our lives.

If you would like to listen to David’s sermon, click here. If you would like to watch a video about Zion’s bilateral hand transplant, click here.

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We had a great time of worship with John Francis and the Amen Corner. We sang some of the greats: Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, Ben Harper’s Better WayWhat’s So Funny Bout (Peace, Love, & Understanding)?His Eye Is On the SparrowPower of the Gospel, and O Mary Don’t You Weep.

Our community offered these prayers:

Please pray for: ***** – as she heals from brain surgery; *****’s success in his job interview Tuesday; ***** as she picks up her job search again; *****’s stepdad who has stage 4 cancer; me


Dear god ~ Please bring me Peace and Focus amidst all of the random chatter around me ~ As you know, I’m in a space where distraction can be good, at times. Amen – *****


I am so thankful for my new friend *****. Thank you God for bringing her into my life. I pray for help with anxiety and struggles this week. Please give me peace and strength. Also, please give ***** peace and strength and heal her daughter *****.


God, please return All curses, spells, enchantments, black magic, hexes, voodoo, hoodoo, generational, ancestral, necromancy spells and curses that are on the minds, bodies, souls, and spirits of my soulmate, me, and my children, *****, *****, *****, *****, and ***** back to all senders 17 times fold now and forever more every second in Jesus’ name I ask… Please pray this daily. Pray for my family and me. Thanks. God Bless You!!

God, please exit me out of this matrix now! I ask in Jesus’ name. Thanks

God Jesus Please return everything that’s mine by divine right, including my divine destiny, fate, inheritance, children, memory, reign, power, and soulmate back to me now and forever more in Jesus’ name I ask! Please pray for me! Thanks


For *****’s grandmother who has had a couple spinal fusions that grew infection and then went septic. In the last couple weeks, her kidneys failed, and she is now on dialysis three times a week. Pray that God heals her kidneys.


I need some place to stay being that the upcoming cold months that is habitual, without asking my income and private.


Thanksgiving for my place of privilege in this world. Praise for the things I have learned at BSM that have impacted my life and my perspective. Prayer for perseverance to find a job, be able to support myself independently, and emotional strength for a recent breakup.


Please pray for the Youth Initiative staff as we part ways. Pray that we continue our strong relationships and flourish spiritually and personally for the rest of the year. Thanks for your support this summer!


Please pray that I can and will receive another apartment to call my own here in Philly near BSM. I want to be close to my church and church family. Ask God to help me get hearing aids. Thank you


I ask for prayer for my time with family and friends during my time at home, especially for patience with my mother.


“That we would find our essential selves in a world of plastic images.”


I have PTSD. I had a flashback this morning. It was horrifying, and I didn’t think I’d survive it. Sometimes, I’m scared I might be slipping back into insanity. I feel abandoned, ignored, and unloved even though I’m none of those things. Pray for me as I begin EMDR therapy. Pray I find some peace. Pray I’m able to receive love from everyone in this faith community. Pray that the love I receive is enough.


Dear Lord, Please watch over us this week. Help me to do the most good for the most number of people using the gifts that You have given me. Help me to bring peace to the family that I love so much, help me to keep them in harmony with each other and You. Amen


Prayer for unity between Christianity and all world religion, peace and true.


I am starting a new project and could really use some guidance. I’m tired of being alone. Show me how to find community and love. My job situation causes me anxiety. Help me to have faith in you. Dear God xoxo


Prayers for my mother’s back. Prayers to serve God with creative vision.


Please give ***** and I healing so that we can fully enjoy our time together.


For my sons. May they find their place in the world.


Please be with *****. Please be with ***** and give her the courage and strength she needs. *****.


I give thanks for my dad’s retirement! And pray for a happy life for him. I pray for ***** moving back to India, for our continued friendship, and for new roommates moving in. I thank God for my family and friends and all of their support and pray to be able to do the same for them.


Please take over god. I’ll try to make that easy (on me) (not for you) (obviously). Amen


Broad Street Ministry is a broad-minded faith community committed to extending radical hospitality and creating a spiritual home for all, especially those who feel like they don’t belong anywhere else. For more information click here.