Climbing Down the Sycamore Tree

Kyle Kooyers

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This text is really quite compelling, especially when situated in its large context. It is held in parallel with the Healing of the Blind Man and in contrast to the Rich Man. So the narrative of Zacchaeus depicts a person who is able to gain a newness of sight, a vision for living that isn’t contingent upon his wealth or status. Unlike the Rich Man, however, Zacchaeus is able to make the move down from his power position and privileged mentality, which I’ll symbolically connect to the sycamore tree. It is interesting that, upon meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus, perhaps for the first time, really hears the cries of the people around him, those whose suffering he has benefitted from, and responds to them by sincerely giving of himself. For Luke, “salvation” is pretty much synonymous with “healing” and “wholeness.” So the story ends with a “healing” and “wholeness” coming to the home of Zacchaeus as a result of his literal and figurative climbing down the tree. What might that look like for us? How might that affect our discussions around BLM?

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