(Adults, this week we hear another moral parable. Our 3-6 year olds do not need to hear this yet. But as small little people, they know how to be in right-relationship with God.)
In the Word of God, we often hear about prayer. We know that prayer is listening to God and talking to God. We know that we can pray with our words, and we can pray with our bodies, too. In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells a parable about two people people praying. One of the people does something interesting.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Two people—one called a Pharisee, the other called a tax collector—go up to the temple, the most holy place in Jerusalem. Both people know that God is there with them in the holy temple. Both people pray to God.
It is the tax collector who does something interesting.
the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven
Interesting. We wonder why he would not look up to heaven...
If his eyes do not look up, where do his eyes look?
They must look down. We can try that, wherever we are. Look down. To look all the way down, right down to the ground, it is easier if our heads bow down, too.
The tax collector's eyes are genuflecting.
His head is genuflecting.
Genuflecting is making ourselves small before God.
The tax collector knows that God is so big, so great, so good. The tax collector shows that he knows this with his body. This is how he prays.
We can pray like this, too. How small can we make ourselves?
Does God see us when we are small?
all who humble themselves
(make themselves small)
will be exalted
Right up onto the shoulders of the Good Shepherd.