February 13, 2019

Opening Doors

February 13, 2019


Luke 5:27-32
This weekend’s reading: Revelation 3:7-13

Many years ago, the YMCA in downtown Nashville was a “men only” facility. Women were not permitted to be members or use the facilities. In the late 1970s and early 1980s there were more and more women working downtown — women who wished to pursue fitness and health just like their male colleagues. A few intrepid women got together and approached the YMCA about creating a female locker room and allowing women to join. At first the organization resisted, but in time they agreed and women were admitted.

I was one of these early female members of the downtown Y and I remember the feeling of elation and joy when we were finally allowed to have access to the facilities. Being excluded simply on the basis of custom and convention was hurtful and made me as a woman feel “less than.” Admittedly, this example of exclusion is trivial compared to the injuries and injustice of racism and all the other “isms” that divide human beings. But it was an experience that gave me a taste of what it is to be excluded because of who I was – not for anything I had done.

Jesus destroyed barriers based on custom and convention. He chose Levi, a tax collector despised by his fellow Israelites, to be one of his inner circle of friends, and he accepted the invitation to be the guest of honor at Levi’s house. The Pharisees could only see that the rules were being broken, but Jesus could see that Levi was a human being and a child of God.


  • Have you ever been excluded simply because of who you are? How did that feel?
  • Imagine you are Levi and that Jesus, an esteemed rabbi, is willing to be a guest in your home. How does that feel?
  • Do you have opportunities to destroy barriers formed by custom and convention in your sphere of influence?


  • Ask your parents or other trusted adult to tell you about a time when they felt left out and someone was kind to them. How did that feel to them?
  • Do you know someone who feels left out at school? What could you do to make them feel included?

Loving God, thank you for sending your Son to us to show us what your inclusive love looks like. Help us to be aware of those around us who feel excluded and show us ways to offer them friendship and love — like Jesus did to Levi and his friends. Amen.