October 30 2016 Luke 19: 1-10 ZACCHAEUS CLIMBED THE SYCAMORE TREE Rev. Deacon Tanis Kolisnyk
19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through it.
19:2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.
19:3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.
19:4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.
19:5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”
19:6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.
19:7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
19:8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”
19:9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.
19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
May the Words of my mouth and meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord our Rock, our strength and our Redeemer. AMEN.
I was so excited when I saw the Gospel that I was assigned to preach on today. Zacchaeus has
always been a person in the bible that has intrigued me. He is a curious sort of guy, a complex
character. He was a chief tax-collector in Jericho, a descendant of Abraham and the biblical account
gives us an example of Jesus’ personal, earthly mission to bring salvation to the lost.
We have to remember that tax collectors were despised as traitors. They worked for the Roman
Empire, not for their Jewish community, so this is context of the readings today. The people thought of
him as corrupt. I found out in one of my Church History texts that in Jericho at that time in history the
lucrative production and export of balsam was centered in Jericho, so you can imagine that tax
collection would have carried both importance and wealth.
So here is this short, wealth guy, who decided to climb a Sycamore tree to see Jesus in the midst
of the crowd. I wondered why the tree specifics were named in the Gospel reading, and I know nothing
about Sycamores – so a bit of snooping told me that they grow to 20 m tall and they have a considerable
spread with a dense round crown of branches. So this tree was probably fairly substantial to hold a
person. In the Bible, the sycamore is referred to seven times in the Old Testament and once in the New
Testament. Though it was not as common in Palestine, the sycamore was a very popular and valuable
fruit tree in Jericho and Canaan. In Kenya the Sycamore tree is considered sacred. It was often called
“Tree of Life”, or “Origin”. Another interesting fact, the Gikuyu Tribe of Kenya have been thought to
have been slaves in Egypt – when they fled the Pharaoh they fled North, while Moses and his people fled
So why name the Sycamore Tree in the gospel story? I think it is named because roots run deep
to sustain such a tree and this tree is rooted in history to the time of old testament and the people of
that time. Zacchaeus climbed a sacred tree to look upon Jesus Christ. He hung out on a limb to see
Jesus and he wanted Jesus to see him too.
Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. He made eye contact, and spoke to him face to face. He was
glad to see him – at least that is the tone I take from the Gospel today. This was not an interruption in
the Messiah’s schedule.
Jesus calls out to him – he has time for those who seek Him.
Getting that attention, oh yes, some of us are better at that than others, this is true.
We have 5 small grand kids all under 5, so you can imagine when we have a family get together there is
a lot of activity, noise, and if the grandkids are all talking at the same time, it is tough for me to give
them individual attention.
One of my grandsons, he is the loudest of them all and in the middle of the
age group, will take his little hands and put them on my face and say “Grandma…… “
This may happen in the midst of Lorne and I getting supper for 14 on the table – he will search us out
and basically say by his gesture “Listen to ME” not them. ME. Very sweet, very direct, and yes, I
stop what I am doing and I give him my total attention. He knows how to communicate in a busy
environment. – JUST LIKE ZACCHAEUS
LOOK at ME !!!- Zacchaeus did the same thing. Zacchaeus climbed a tree to get a
look at Jesus, but he also wanted Jesus to look at him. The Savior did look. He showed his Love by
acknowledging this short guy hanging out on a limb in the Sycamore tree. When Jesus reached the spot,
he looked up into the branches, addressed Zacchaeus by name, and told him to come down, for he
intended to visit his house. The crowd was shocked that Jesus, a Jew, would consider being a guest of a
tax collector – WHAT!!! You have got to be kidding!!! This thought was certainly being murmured
around the crowd.
Zacchaeus was curious….. that is a good trait, even if you are a tax collector.
Maybe, especially if you are a tax collector. I think that God has placed in the soul of every human being a desire to
connect to the Creator. Steve Andrews a baptist pastor says it very well:
Some fight it, ignore it, and deny it, but the Scripture is clear. Human beings
are spiritual beings and no amount of worldly success or possessions can satisfy
the deepest longing of the soul to know God.
The gospel indicates to us that God chose to associate with (and to save) this man whom He
knew to be an unworthy sinner. The others people were not pleased about this. They were angry,
because they did not see themselves as sinners, but as the righteous. Earlier this month we discussed
wealth and how it is not a sign of God’s favor. We talked about Jesus declaring that it is nearly
impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.
This gospel brings balance – a story about another rich man who receives Jesus with joy, who promises to give half of his wealth to the poor and to restore
fourfold any amount to those he may have defrauded. It is not about wealth, it is not about worthiness,
it is about saying YES Lord – LOOK AT ME, Change my heart, and welcome me in – a sinner.
We need to see in this gospel message that Jesus came to save those who are unworthy, those who are sinners. Yes Jesus responds….. I see you. Come to me….. Yes I have time for you…. Even you.
Let us Pray:
In your Son you seek out and save the lost, O God,
and invite us to the banquet of your eternal home.
Visit your people with the joy of salvation.
Help us to be curious and rejoice in the riches of your forgiveness.
Help us to reach out and be a welcoming community, willing to share with others the fest of your love. Amen.
There are three events coming up at Saint Philip’s this November that you may be interested in.
The first two events take place on November 11th. These events start off with our Remembrance Day service at 11am. We are honoured that we get to share this day with the members of the St. Boniface-Norwood Legion Branch #43. There is a long history between Saint Philip’s and the Legion, and one which we strive to maintain. One thing to know about this Remembrance Day service is that you should arrive early if you need to sit, because the building fills to overflowing. Fortunately, as last year, there is televised overflow in our Memorial Hall. Continue reading →
This Sunday September 18th, St. Philip’s will be holding our annual fall BBQ. This BBQ marks the return to regular activities at the church. If you check out our post on last September’s happenings you’ll see many of the groups that call St. Philip’s home.
Doors are open at 10:00 am. The service begins at 11 am. Immediately following the service there is a BBQ on the front lawn. We should be ready to start eating at about 12:30 pm. Hot dogs, hamburger, and buns will be provided. We hope you can join us at 11:00 am for our celebration of Holy Eucharist, but if you can’t please feel to swing by and join us for the BBQ. We would also like to encourage people to bring potluck salads, beverages or desserts for the BBQ. However, if you are unable to do so, we still invite you to stop for the chance to meet your neighbours at St. Philip’s.
The Barbecue will go on rain or shine. If it is raining, we will eat inside in the Memorial Hall.
Fall at St. Philip’s
Our Fall Barbecue is just the beginning of our year. We will once again be holding our Rememberance Day service in support of the St. Boniface-Norwood Legion, on November 11. On November 11 we are also holding our annual Roast Beef Dinner. Two weeks later on the 25th of November we will be welcoming J.D. Huston as he performs his one man play, Screwtape, based on the works of C.S. Lewis. More details will be made available as we come closer to those dates.
Lasting and healthy change is difficult to achieve because there are so many forces that work to keep change from happening. The societal, cultural, and/or personal forces must be resisted by the person or organization that decides the change they desire is necessary. However, most of the time it is not enough to simply make this decision and put forward this effort by oneself. Support is often needed in these times of change so that the forces trying to stop it do not become overwhelming. St. Philips will be hosting two people who try to, Kyle Mason and Don Amero, at our 11am service on July 17th. These individuals have devoted themselves to be supporters of lasting and healthy change within their communities.
Before they arrive it would be good for us to get to know a bit about these men so they do not spend their whole time simply explaining who they are. Kyle Mason will be sharing a message with us when he visits on July 17th. Kyle Mason is Winnipeg born and was raised in the North End by a single parent family. As Kyle grew he noticed that it was not just his family that struggled with poverty but many throughout his community. During this tough time in his life Kyle Mason was able to find support and community from a local church youth group. Having a supportive community during a difficult time obviously stuck with Kyle as when he moved back to the community he knew exactly how he wanted to help it out.
Kyle Mason decided to help his community by starting the North End Family Centre. It is within this organization that Kyle, his staff, volunteers, and everyone who comes to the centre work on creating a loving and safe community. This community was formed by the North End Family Centre’s ability to hear the community they wished to serve. Kyle explains, “We listen to the people that we serve. We ask what they want and what they need and move to do that. And when the community feels like they have real input, which they do, they respond.” The response Kyle refers to is that despite only having a starting location 1000 square feet they were receiving up to 1400 visits a month. This response allowed the North End Family Centre to expand to their new location so they might serve more people and help support this ever growing community.
Don Amero, the Juno nominated man who will be providing the music to our service on July 17th, grew up in the North End community like Kyle Mason. Don Amero also is filled with the desire to give back to his community. With this desire in mind Don works in his local community; a good example of this is last year where Don took the responsibility on to help mentor some middle school kids at Niji Mahkwa. It is here the students collaborated with Don Amero to make a song about missing and murdered indigenous women titled, Never Alone.
Don also sees his community in a broader sense and has toured the country with country music star Brett Kissell last year. They toured through many indigenous communities to do their part to support the reconciliation conversation that was spreading throughout the country. Don Amero has this to say about reconciliation, “Reconciliation is relationship, and I think that what Brett and I want to do is be a living example of two guys from different hoods, different places, different backgrounds coming together to do something really great for people.”
The relationships these two men have formed with their communities is an inspiring story we will hear more of on July 17th. We hope many will come out to be inspired by their stories and song so that we can all figure out how we can help support change in our country, city, neighbours, and selves.
Next Sunday, June 12th, St. Philip’s will be holding our annual summer BBQ.
Doors are open at 10:00 am. The service begins at 11 am. Immediately following the service there will be a BBQ on the front lawn. We should be ready to start eating at about 12:30 pm. Hot dogs, hamburger, and buns will be provided. We hope you can join us at 11:00 am for our celebration of Holy Eucharist, but if you can’t please feel to swing by and join us for the BBQ. We would also like to encourage people to bring potluck salads, beverages or desserts for the BBQ. However, if you are unable to do so, we still invite you to stop for the chance to meet your neighbours at St. Philip’s.
The Barbecue will go on rain or shine. If it is raining, we will eat inside in the Memorial Hall.
Let all creation help you to praise God. Give yourself the rest you need. When you are walking alone, listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, the sun and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to proclaim the greatness of the one who has given them being. Saint Paul of the Cross
Last Wednesday, with the weather finally warm, though wet, we planted flowers here at St. Philip’s. Despite the rain it was a delightful event. Margaret Brook, one of our parishioners organized the planting. Rev. Donald was there and we were joined by members of the 153rd Sparks, and Brownies along with a couple of their leaders. It is always great when members of the various communities get the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better. We thank them for their willingness to partner with us. A special thanks to the Sparks and Brownies who outdid themeselves in their desire to help with the planting.
As the quote at the top says, we believe that beauty is one of the ways in which God is made known to us. We hope that people who pass by the building or who are waiting for their bus may find their days brightened by the flowers, trees, and other plants around the building. We hope that they bring joy and gladness every day.
Flowers and Guy Letourneau’s Memory
This spring the planting of the flowers was a melancholy affair. For many years our caretaker Guy Letourneau had looked after the grounds and flowers. Sadly, just a couple of months ago, Guy discovered he had cancer. It was an aggressive cancer and on April he entered his eternal rest.
Guy took great pride and care with the grounds and the flowers. Much of the reason that the grounds around St. Philip’s have always looked so beautiful was through Guy’s efforts. We miss him not only for his efforts but for his friendly, welcoming personality that had been an important part of St. Philip’s for the past decade.
The video with this post features former Archbishop of Canterbury discussing “What is the Church.” For those unfamiliar with the way the Anglican Church is organized, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of Anglicans around the world. Unlike the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury has no formal power outside of his role in the Church of England. However, the Archbishop stands as a figure of unity for Anglicans. In this video, Williams answers the question what is the church. In doing so he gives a couple of comments that are worth further reflection.
Two Comments from Williams
The first comment in the video that this post will reflect on is: “Church is what happens when people are touched by Jesus.” Williams suggests that church is the inevitable by-product of coming into contact with Jesus. We who are part of the church are part of it because of this contact. The second is that our primary duty as part of the church is “to keep yourself alert to the call.” In other words, remember that encounter with Jesus. All other things flow from these two.
A couple of Questions:
Williams talks of people being brought together, often unexpectedly. What does this tell us about being the Church? What does this tell us about the basis of our commitment to each other? How does remembering that the church is an “event before an organization,” help or hinder us in being the Church? These are just a couple of questions that come to mind. Perhaps you have other questions after watching the video. Perhaps you disagree with Williams idea of the church. Feel free to use the contact form on our home page if you have any questions or comments regarding this video or any other post on our site.
I came across these videos thanks to an excellent site known as The Englewood Review of Books. This site and it’s sister site, Thrifty Christian Books are worth bookmarking if for no other reason than they will help you discover videos such as the one in this post. St. Philip’s has made use of this site in the past as they directed us to the Stanley Hauerwas videos which we posted a couple of years ago.
We are well into the season of Lent. It will only be a few more days until Holy Week begins. During Holy Week we trace the last few days of Jesus’s life. This is the most important week in the life of the church. We will be gathering together several times over the course of the week.
Holy Week Schedule:
Sunday, March 20: Palm/Passion Sunday. Service at 11:00 am. There will be no Eucharist this Sunday.
Thursday, March 24: Maundy Thursday. St. Philip’s will be joining with St. Mark’s and St. Mary Magdalene for a symbolic Seder Supper. This begins at 6:00 pm and is being help at St. Mary Madgalene Anglican Church, 3 St. Vital Road. Rev. Donald will be taking on the role of the father in the Seder Supper. Maundy Thursday also marks the institution of the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, and the act of Jesus washing his disciples feet.
Good Friday, March 25 : Good Friday Service, 11 am.
Easter Sunday, March 27: Easter Morning Eucharist, 11 am.
It’s that time of year again. Lent is just around the corner. However, before that we will be enjoying the 2016 Pancake Supper. There will be a couple of changes for this year’s supper. The first is in whose putting it on. This year instead of simply being a St. Philip’s event, the Pancake Supper will be a joint effort by the three St. Mary’s Road Parishes. Those parishes are St. Mark’s, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Philip’s. The second is the location of the supper. For 2016, we will be holding the Supper at the Norwood-St. Boniface Legion, Branch #43, which is located at 134 Marion Street.
2016 Bringing a new direction for the Pancake Supper
The reason for the change of locale brings us to the third big difference in this year’s Pancake Supper. This year, the funds raised through the supper will go to help support the Aulneau Renewal Centre’s new Family Sponsorship program. This is a new relatively new program from the centre. It recognizes that often the people who are in the greatest need of counseling services are unable to gain access to the services because of difficult financial situations. The Family Sponsorship Program will go a long way to helping to alleviate the stresses caused by a lack of funds. We hope that not only will the 2016 Pancake Supper raise funds to support this project, but it will help to raise awareness in the broader community of the availability of such a resource. Please consider taking the time on February 9th to come out, enjoy some pancakes, and help make much needed services available to people who need them.
Last year there were pancakes, sausages, syrup, whipped cream, and a berry compote on the menu. This year we hope to make the menu even bigger. Tickets are $7.00 per person and $17.50 per family. We will be including gluten-free pancakes as part of the supper.
Tickets are available by calling 204-237-3650 and leaving a message. Or, you can email us at email@example.com