The Old Razzle Dazzle
August 9, 2015
Rev. David Norse preaches 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.