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Luke 19:1-10

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 amount.

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.

Before the 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.

The fake fivers were printed on green paper, and the fake twenties were printed on purple paper, so they looked really 'authentic'. Really.

You can listen to the dramatised reading, Zacchaeus' song and the talk on the St James' Muswell Hill web site.

Fake fiver
Fake fiver

Zacchaeus collects the taxes
Zacchaeus collects the taxes

Zacchaeus behind the crowd
Zacchaeus behind the crowd

 

Zacchaeus up the fig tree
Zacchaeus up the fig tree

Zacchaeus returns what he has stolen
Zacchaeus returns what he has stolen

Fake twenty
Fake twenty

 

Desert island church by John Parker. Contact me via the about page. Text and images copyright © 2014 John Parker www.desertislandchurch.co.uk.