October 23, 2005

Bob Swan - “People I know”

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Sermon Recording: Download


Bob Swan (Minister at First Baptist, Vancouver, active in their programme providing shelter on Tuesdays) spoke on "Having your story heard, and hearing their stories". The brief and only story about Zacchaeus is fascinating. Even though Jesus was very busy, having just entered Jericho, he stopped everything so that he could hear Zacchaeus' story. In spite of his enormous wealth, nobody in Jericho respected short Zacchaeus enough to make way to let him even catch a glimpse of Jesus, so he set aside his usual dignity, gathered up his robes, and climbed a tree, undoubtedly to great ridicule. However, when Jesus stopped to talk, and then to visit at length, Jesus heard his story and both of them determined that Zacchaeus was addicted to money. Realizing that his pursuit of money had cost him everything else, he rashly vowed to make total restitution, which likely meant his financial ruin and loss of work. Whether he actually reformed is not reported, but none of this would have happened had Jesus ignored this bizarre person on the street. Bob then talked about street people in Vancouver, about our overwhelming instincts either to ignore them, be rude to them, or buy their silence with a few coins. Taking the time to hear their stories seems to be out of the question. Isaiah 58 addressed this age-old situation by saying that we are called to a fast which involves helping others, and that if we help others, God will help us. Bob emphasized that the homeless need to have someone walk with them, trust them (even if it is risky), and believe in them despite their horrendous problems. The "climb out of the street" is a journey which can take five years and involve considerable slippage, but each of us is within a hair's breadth of the street, for a sudden serious change in health or a sudden permanent loss of work can force fully respectable people out of their comfortable homes. Bob concluded by urging us to be like Jesus, look out for Zacchaeus, then listen to his story. [JEK]


Passage: Lk 19:1-10
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event:
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Bob Swan
Worship Leader: Karen Giesbrecht
Song Leader: Ann Marie Neudorf
Pianist: Ruth Enns
Usher: Erna Friesen
Zoom Coordinator:
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