I have today completed a pattern of preaching where I preached the same sermon in all five of our Sunday congregations over 3 weeks. The idea was to unpack and give a Biblical background to each of the three values that we worked on last year. An introduction to the work we did to get to them is here.
The process of preaching the same sermon 5 times has itself been an interesting learning process, but I’ll blog about that another time. For now, here’s my sermon, based on the story of Zacchaeus, and our “outward” facing value which says we want to seek God by meeting with the people of Yateley to explore the relevance of new life with Jesus.
I’m pretty sure that Zacchaeus took his shoes off to climb the sycamore fig tree, because to be honest climbing in sandals is pretty difficult! I guess feet that live in sandals like Zac’s probably did, are tougher than many of ours, and bare feet have a natural degree of grip that is a big improvement on a well worn strip of leather. Even so, as Zac climbed up to see Jesus he made himself vulnerable to cutting his feet on the nobbly stalks which the sycamore fig produces as it flowers and fruits along it’s stems. But being able to see Jesus was more important to Zac than a few minor scratches.
Actually the sermon suggested we take more than our shoes off, and was rather longer than that 🙂 – probably the longest I’ve ever preached it rolled in at about 25 minutes long! From the feedback it seems to have had a significant impact on those that have heard it, and neither they, nor I, really noticed the time. There whole text is here: Sermon Luke 19v1-10 (outward value – final version)
I feel like this sermon was very significant, for me, and for those who heard it. Now the question is, can we go and live it?