Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

November 3, 2019: Changing Perspectives

From Paul Turley


An alliance between a high-ranking government official and an itinerant teacher known for supporting the poor and critiquing the rich seems like a strange match, but that is what we get in the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus.


Strange alliances are also at the heart of a story out of Washington at the present time.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described democratic socialist from New York, and Senator Ted Cruz, the staunch conservative Republican from Texas, might seem the most unlikely members of Congress who would join forces on any subject. However, this is what happened earlier this year.


Ocasio-Cortez, citing an article on former members of Congress working in lobbying jobs after their retirement or defeat, called for a change in the law.


Almost 60 ex-congress members from the 2017–2019 term are working for lobbying firms, consulting firms, trade groups, or business groups that influence federal government activities.


“If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a Tweet. “At minimum there should be a long wait period.”


Cruz responded in a Tweet, “Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”


Co-sponsors have been lined up in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and a joint bill is making its slow way through the halls of Congress.


That was back in May of this year. Now, just a few days ago, Ocasio-Cortez and Cruz were at it again. This time co-signing a letter of rebuke of Apple and its CEO Tim Cook for the company’s decision to take down an app from their app store. The app had been used by protesters in Hong Kong to track police movements.


“Apple’s decision last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKMaps is deeply concerning,” the authors of the letter wrote. “We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.”


Explore…Luke 19:1–10

  • How do you think Jesus’ invitation to Zacchaeus would be received by your faith community or by your wider community?
  • Why do you think we are given the piece of information that Zacchaeus was short and climbed a tree?



God of all the earth, we know that there are no barriers, no walls, no barbwire that can keep you from seeking to unite us all in one universal community, one holy family. Your dream for us all is to be your people and sisters and brothers to each other. Amen.



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