Every time I hear the story of Zacchaeus, I can’t help but to think of the maple tree in the front yard of my grandmother’s house. I grew up an only child and since my dad was significantly older than my mom, all of my cousins on that side of the family were already grown. Going to visit my grandmother could be a lonely experience not to mention an exercise in self-amusement since there was no one else to play with. My favorite activity was to climb that maple tree. It had a big limb that was positioned low enough that you could grab on and swing your legs around it and then pull yourself up. Once you were there, the other limbs practically formed a staircase leading to the upper chambers of the tree. The smaller you were, the higher you could go. In spring and summer the leaves would hide you from view, and I always had hopes of eluding my parents when they would call me at suppertime. To my surprise they always found me either from the sheer repetitiveness of this game or perhaps because the tree was directly in front of the family room picture window where my mom watched periodically to make sure I didn’t fall and break my arm.
Preached at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
2 Thess 1:1-4, 11-12
Several years ago, I found myself in Jericho. I was there with a group of pilgrims and we had stopped off to see the excavations. Jericho is thought to be the oldest city in the world and is of course the scene of that famous battle when the people of Israel marched around Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. But we hear about Jericho in the gospels as well. It was to Jericho that the man who fell among thieves was going and about whom Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. It was in Jericho that Jesus healed the blind man, whom Mark names at Bartimaeus. And it is of course where our gospel story takes place today.