Seeing Jesus sideways

jesuswoodSome years ago an American Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr spoke on the subject of ‘Looking Sideways’.  There were three talks:  Looking sideways at God, at the Church and at Christ.  One theme ran through them all:  You don’t see what you are not told to look for.  Today our Gospel Reading is the story of Zacchaeus, the vertically challenged tax collector.   I don’t want to focus on why I find this an odd tale, instead I want to focus on what Zacchaeus wanted.  He wanted to see Jesus.  He was intrigued, interested.  Enough to climb a sycamore tree in order to get a better view of the passing procession and of Jesus himself.  That’s the point everything changes as Jesus notices him in the tree and we know the rest of the story.  They go off for tea and buns and Zacchaeus’s place and it turns out to be an expensive tree climbing session for the chief tax collector.  Let’s go back a bit.  He was trying to see who Jesus was, our text tells us.  But he could not on account of the crowd.  You might think that crowds are not likely to be a problem for us today, however I’d like to suggest that is exactly our problem.  Can we perhaps use this as a parody of our situation?  The crowd of people  –  Life gets in the way of seeing Jesus.   We’re short, not in stature but short of knowledge – we don’t often know what to look for or how to have the experience that leads to understanding who Jesus is.
The Sycamore tree can be our offer of an opportunity to see Jesus.  The question is of course, what is it that we do to give the people of our ministry area that opportunity?  Therein lies the opportunity and the problem.