Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: The Tree
By Jeffrey Snell
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Taken with prayer,
Through love of the steward-father became
Soft arms, a cradle
To protect the Son, a soothing place of rest.
The steward's touch returned with the season,
Seeking cooling shade
On journey in remembrance to His city.
The Son climbed and rode
The tree's branches as He grew into a man.
The tree's limbs spread and grew into a great
The sky in testimony. Then God approached
With strange sadness,
And with great care commanded the tree in grief.
Drop the seed there, He'd murmured tearfully,
And the offspring fell.
Carried briefly by currents it dropped cushioned
By His watchful breath,
Lighting on the ground, claimed by death greedily.
Leaves shivered as if a door were opened
To a sudden draft.
The darkening shell grew soft, a sleeper waking
To creep toward crack
Of air and light, breathing in as He ordained.
Water surged through the rising walls of jade
And carried new strength
Upward toward Him, joy and glory rising
Fulfilled in silence;
Sturdy grain and bark from fragile tissue made.
Time shifted and timbers shook as the Son
Testified the Truth.
Fear roared and rage swelled in the enemy's hands,
And in terrible
Darkness, freedom by prisoners was condemned.
Towering alongside its parent's limbs,
The offspring stood growing
In splendor and testifying to His hand;
Design's destiny, the hope for which each life lives.
Rivaling many brethren, it stood ready
As the men approached
With blades to pierce its skin and strip its branches
With callous reproach
For Him, a great honor it received with joy.
They sang a song, readying mighty swings,
<I>One more criminal, one more cross, one more death.</I>
Silent notes of praise it added, preparing,
As its parent did
Before, to cradle the Son in its arms.
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