I love trees in all the different seasons, especially after this recent snowstorm that we had in the northeast. There is a beauty about them as God dresses them for each season. At one time in my life, I remember saying “Hug a mug and save a tree!” I still think that, but don’t say it as often.
This past week’s readings brought several stories to mind, one of them being this one about the tallest tree in the forest. I would ask my students the question “How do you become the tallest tree in the forest?” After several answers, I would then share with them the two important lessons.
You become the tallest tree by sinking your roots deep into the earth and taking in all the food and energy the earth has to offer. You live within a group of trees, and you keep growing together despite challenges.
The second way is to chop down all the other trees around you. You may not be the tallest tree there ever was, but you will be the only tree! And soon, without roots and protection from the other trees, you too may be gone.
Why this story?
Well, I thought of the tree in the desert and the tree by the running stream. Where are we in relation to our faith life? Do I find myself in the desert, or by running streams, sinking my roots in deep? We can become very content with what is and perhaps what was, but that can lead us to a very dry place – comfortable, certainly, but dry. By the running stream there is always growth happening to the tree and that means constant change; slow and steady, but change nonetheless.
Where do I want to be at this stage of my life? We make the choice. Lent will soon be upon us and there are many opportunities for growth. How will I participate in this special church season? We make the choice of how to be the tallest tree we can be; will we grow, or chop the others down?
Start to think about where you want to be when the time comes to celebrate Easter. Will your roots be deep or shallow? The choice is yours. What will it be? Begin to prepare for your Lenten faith journey. What nourishment will you receive as you abide by the running streams?