Wednesday, April 4, 2012


In the distant past, the Swedish church dominated everyone's life. The clergyman visited the homes of people in the country to make sure that people knew their Bible properly.

The Swedish primitive painters in the province of Dalarna, often used dramatic religious incidents for their subjects and the story of Zaccheus, the short sinful merchant in Jericho, who climbed a tree to properly see Jesus on his way to Jerusalem (and then is asked down by Jesus), fascinated the painters and here is a painting, recreated in the old style by Leif Södergren of Gothenburg. The story ends well with Jesus visiting Zaccheus in his home and Zaccheus giving away a lot of money to the poor.
Zaccheus in the tree by Leif Södergren.
Acrylic on wood 60 cm x 80 cm
You can buy a poster or greeting cards of this painting here.
Here they stand, man against man. The short and sinful Zaccheus up in the tree and Jesus, the son of God.
Both Zaccheus and the buildings look very 1800th century Swedish.
Today Zaccheus' tree has become a tourist attraction, but the real tree looks different from this fantasy-tree imagined by the primitive painter.

Zacchaeus song
There was a man in Jericho called Zaccheus.
There was a man in Jericho called Zaccheus.
Now the Hebrews, they were tall, but Zaccheus, he was small,
Yet the Lord loved Zaccheus, better than them all.
The Lord went walking one day through Jericho town,
And the people began to gather from miles around.
But Zaccheus, he couldn't see, so he climbed a Sycamore tree,
And the Lord looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down.”
The Lord said, “Zaccheus, I am dining with you today.
Zaccheus, I come to your house, come lead the way.”
Then, Zaccheus, he gave a cheer, but the people began to sneer,
“This man is a sinner, does the Lord seek lodging here?”
Now Zaccheus was small of stature, but he could show,
That a man who is stout of heart can grow and grow.
“If I have cheated young and old, I restore the goods four fold.”
And salvation came that day to his whole household.


  1. Today's Gospel! I must have learned this song in 2nd grade... (approximately 1966)
    As I left mass this morning I got into my car and was able to nearly sing the entire song - even with correct melody! The true joys of a Catholic education... To date, I wouldn't change a thing!!

    1. Wow, same here I learned this in Catholic school in 1966 as well! Brings back great memories as being a child!