If you use this refection please acknowledge hospice23, as well as the author, Rev Sue Martin.



Luke 5.27-32
‘And Levi made him a great feast in his house.’ (v. 29)

Levi was isolated and shunned by his community, not only for what he was and what he represented as a tax collector, but also for what he was not: he was not one of them. For whenever we use negative words to describe or judge someone, we are also condemning them for what they are not, and therefore we reinforce the negativity. So, to say, for example, that someone is mean, or cruel or self-seeking is somehow much more ‘loaded’ and damning because neither are they generous, loving or self-giving; they are not what they should be. They are not what we think they ought to be.

Caught in the web of illness, we can spend a lot of time reflecting on all that we are not: we are not strong, we are not independent, we are not employable. This process may be started by the words and actions of others and of society, then we take it to ourselves and make it our own. Or our own fears may start the spiral and we all too easily find the evidence to reinforce it. Jesus saw Levi and called him. Jesus saw all that Levi was, and all that Levi could be. The Pharisees and scribes could mutter and murmur and tut-tut all they wanted.

Illness is an experience which inevitably shows us as much about other people as it does about ourselves, and that discovery may be a painful one. We give thanks for those who show us constant love, compassion, patience and support. We are blessed by those whose touch is tender, assisting us in our physical need as well as reaching out to us in friendship. It is, however, difficult when we are laid low to cope with those who wound us with insensitive words and actions, or who fail to notice we still even exist.

The bottom line is that Jesus loved Levi, chose Levi, called Levi. Jesus wanted Levi to experience God’s love and saving power. Jesus wanted Levi to be a witness and example. Perhaps most touchingly, Jesus not only gave to Levi, but gladly received from him. Jesus broke down the disapproving barriers of convention, entering Levi’s house and sharing in the great feast Levi made for him. Luke tells us ‘a large company of tax collectors and others’ were at table with them: the witness had already started!

Jesus wants to break through the walls of what we feel we are not. He wants to lead us out of the place of isolation, enter our spiritual home - that place where we are now - and share whatever we offer him. What we offer may seem impoverished or meagre, however to the Lord, who sees what is rather than what is not, it will be a feast, and a feast worth sharing.

Loving Lord,
You see us as we cannot see ourselves; When I am weighed down by what I am not, Enter, Lord, the place where I am,
Become my holy guest,
And share with me the feast within.

No hands but yours...no matter who we are, how small or inadequate we feel.... We have a feast worth everything to Jesus,
if we are prepared to risk sharing it with him. 

Webpage icon Bartimaeus
Webpage icon Humiliation
Webpage icon Isolation
Webpage icon Rejection
Webpage icon Trust