Zacchaeus was a wealthy chief tax collector in Jericho. Like
everyone else in the town, he wanted to see Jesus. But he was a short man and
couldn't see over the crowd - and I suspect he wasn't very popular, so nobody
would let him through.
So he climbed a sycamore-fig tree to get a better
view, and was really surprised when Jesus stopped underneath and called up to
him, saying, 'I must stay at your house today.'
The people didn't like
the idea of Jesus being the guest of a 'sinner' - as if they weren't sinners
themselves! But Zacchaeus was overjoyed: he gave away half of his possessions,
and said that if he had cheated anyone, he would pay back four times the
Jesus said, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because
this man, too, is a son of Abraham.'
We dramatised the story. As people
arrived at church, we handed out (fake) £5 notes. I drew these in Corel
Draw and made them look really complicated, like the printing on real bank
notes. Just so we couldn't be accused of printing counterfeit money, much of
the printing said 'fake' and 'not worth the paper it's printed on.' They were
quite fun to make, but the design was so complex that my laser printer kept
printing pages and pages that were almost totally black.
reading we met Zacchaeus (actually Chris our music minister). He sang a song
about how much he loved money. Then he went round the congregation 'taxing'
people by taking their fake fivers off them.
After a while he noticed
that a crowd had assembled at the front of church - people were looking at
someone, put they wouldn't let him past to see who it was.
So he climbed
a nearby fig tree. Actually this was the pulpit, from which we had hung lots of
fig leaves. These weren't real leaves but were bits of foamboard painted green
and tied to bits of string. Your local art shop will sell you foamboard. They
might try to sell you 'polyboard' but that is much more expensive. The cheap
stuff will be fine.
Then he saw Jesus, welcomed him, repented and went
round the congregation handing out fake £20 notes, to pay people back for
the fake £5 notes he had taken off them earlier on.
fivers were printed on green paper, and the fake twenties were printed on
purple paper, so they looked really 'authentic'. Really.
You can listen
reading, Zacchaeus' song and the talk on the St James' Muswell Hill web