Tax Collectors and Sinners. Mark 2:13-17

Mark 2:13-17

Here Jesus asks Levi (a tax collector) to follow him, and he does.  Later, at Levi’s house, there are clearly many other ‘sinners and tax collectors’ who are also following Jesus.  The scribes ask Jesus’ disciples why Jesus will eat with ‘these people’ (my phrase).
There are six references, (direct or indirect) in these 5 verses to the ‘tax collectors and sinners’.  They are people who are attracted to Jesus, so much so that they are desribed as followers.  Reading these verses, my question is this. If Jesus had come today, who would be the equivalent to the ‘tax collectors and sinners’ ?  Would they be mostly people who are in our churches ?
And where would Jesus be ? (a la What Would Jesus Do?!).  Maybe we could have some wristbands made up! WWJB.  
The question for the church is – how can we be a presence in the same way that Jesus was ? Sitting in the same house with ‘tax collectors and sinners’ and ‘scribes of the pharisees’
Washington D.C. is a good place to look because it is THE centre of power in the world, and is at the same time a city of great need. 
Whilst staying here in Washington, we have been about 10 minutes walk from the White House, the centre of executive power of the only global superpower, and at night, we can hear the sirens of the emergency services at regular intervals.  (D.C. has, or at least has had in the recent past, the highest murder rate in the USA).  It’s a city of contrasts.  
In 1947, Gordon and Mary Cosby started The Church of the Savior’, an ecumenical Christian community here in DC …
From those early beginnings, others have taken inspiration from the Cosbys, among them Jim Wallis, spokesperson for the Sojourners Community, and leader of the ‘Evangelical Left’ inthe USA.  Today the life of the Church of the Saviour is expressed in 7 separate communities … Along with Sojourners Community and many others, the Church of the Saviour is setting out to do what Jesus did, a to be where Jesus was … both engaging with the powers, and sitting with the powerless.

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