Once upon a time, my sister and I climbed a tree, not to be seen but to hide from the people who walked below us. I still giggle when I think about the surprised exclamations of people amazed by acorns that seemed to fall just where they walked. We became less invisible above the more we giggled and shook the tree.
Zaccheus, the star of this Sunday’s gospel, wanted not to hide, but to see Jesus. I was surprised to find in doing my research for Sunday’s sermon that some people think that the tree pictured above is the tree that Zaccheus climbed. People travel to Jericho just to see it. I don’t know if it’s the tree or not. Honestly I don’t know if it matters. But how cool is it that the tree is well over 2000 years old. What must it have witnessed standing by the side of a road in Jericho, in Palestine, all these years? What stories could it tell of humanity?
I know the tree isn’t the main character of the story–but it did pay a crucial part. The tree allowed Zaccheus to see Jesus. Additionally, the tree made it possible for Jesus to see Zaccheus. Without a strong and sturdy tree, Zaccheus would likely have not met Jesus. They might not have shared a meal and his life might not have been changed. His generosity may not have been jump started in the same way. And who knows how many lives his generosity touched?
The tree, just by being a tree, started a ripple effect that changed Zaccheus life and touched others. What have been the sycamore trees in your life, the moments you’ve been able to catch a glimpse of God in your midst? What has given you an entirely different perspective so you see not just the obstacles of life, but the very face of Jesus? I’d love to hear your story.
I’ll see you on Sunday,