In September of 2013, I published a post entitled “Let us be Redwoods” . Please take a moment to click on it and then come on back, ok? I’ll wait here for you….
….Okay – ready? Thanks.
Last week, 2 1/2 years after the original post, I reposted it? Why you may ask?
Good question – it’s one I asked myself while doing it without really knowing the answer.
“Why am I resending this?”
For some reason I felt a strong pull inside telling me to repost it. It literally, popped into my head to do it. Weird.
In addition to that, for the last few weeks the ‘Shema‘ has been on my mind.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up…” Deuteronomy 6:4-8
Yesterday, I think I heard the answer.
“ONE” was the message spoken by my pastor this morning. He quoted the opening of the ‘Shema’ and also these words prayed by Jesus:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.“ John 20:20-21
Th mighty oak is a strong and powerful tree. It’s roots burrow deep into the ground – 30, 40 even 50 feet down in the earth, grabbing firm in a death-defying life grip. When the storms come, with the turbulence, the assault and the violence, they bend, twist, crack and snap in the raging, swirling winds.
And though they are mighty and stong, the tree can break free from its grip on the earth, and slowly, steadedly pull up and away from the deep roots, tearing up the ground, cracking, ripping, smashing – crashing to the forest floor in a hunderous explosion of brokenness, destruction and death.
Do you know how high 300 feet is straight up? It’s a football field stood on end.
The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet high.
How high is The Leaning Tower of Pisa? The Capitol Building? The Tower of Big Ben?
Redwood trees grows to heights greater than 300 feet – exceeding 360 and 370. Imagine a single tree towering over our Lady of Liberty! Here – take a look…
If we were to design such a tree, our ‘educated’, logical, scientific brains would think that we drive the roots of the Redwood down into the bowels of the earth itself in order to keep it standing during the storms (storms? just sheer weight and gravity should make it topple over like a top!). But, as we know – that is not the case. Their roots are only two to three feet deep! Can you imagine a 370 foot tree being supported and held up by 3 feet of roots? It defies logic – science and engineering. Think if the Leaning Tower of Pisa only had a two foot foundation!
The Redwood Tree is not only an amazing example of God’s creative genius and power, but it’s the revealed answer to God’s riddle of “ONE”!
“No way” – you say. In the forest there are many redwood trees and each are individual, stand alone trees. “Ain’t no riddle there mister, sorry don’t see the connection fella.
Oh, but our eyes only see on the surface – it’s under the surface that we find the answer to the Redwood’s success – and it’s there where we find the “ONE”.
Yes – there are many Redwood trees – that’s the beauty of it – they survive. Many trees – and each is an individual – each tall, straight and strong. Each having its own root system. It’s shallow, to be sure – only digging 2 to 3 feet into the earth – but those roots spread out – interwine – connect – even fuse with the roots of its neighbor – forming – you guessed it – “ONE” unified, solid community foundation where “ONE” supports “ALL” and “ALL” supports “ONE”.
When the storm rages against any single tree – it’s raging against the community – against a unified mat that withstands and defeats any and all storms. God’s love is the sap that fuses the roots together!
And here’s another thought to chew on: High above – overhead in the sky – the redwoods form a protective canopy – a covering – that shelters the oak, the pine, the hemlock and the beech tree – providing them cover from the storm. Think of those trees with the deep roots – that are looked to for their fruit – (our pastors and leaders) – they have refuge and shelter under the canopy of the shallow rooted redwoods (the flock)!
Scripture tells us to be “rooted” in the word and to “love” one another with the “love of God”. That “love” is the ‘sap’ that flows through the roots, fusing and joining together all the community of God.
What a marvelous mystery God has given us!
Until Next time – Embrace your Bridges – for they define who you are.