When there is a big crowd in Glasgow city centre, people don’t climb trees to get a better look at what’s going on… The best vantage point is usually the top of the stairs of the Royal Concert Hall, right at the top of Buchanan Street.
Many of the folk who experience homelessness in Glasgow can often seem like detached observers of city life, ignored and one step removed from everyone else.
This struck a chord for Iain with the Zacchaeus story. Zacchaeus is at arm’s length from everyone else around him, excluded in his own way.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:1-10 (NIVUK)