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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: The Third Tree
By Helen Paynter
08/19/06


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In the silky dawn of Eden’s spring, three trees were set apart by the Creator’s edict. When he fashioned Adam and Eve from the clay, most alluring to them in the entire garden were these trees.

The first was comely to behold. Luscious hung its fruits; fragrant and beguiling.

‘To eat of this fruit brings death,’ the Creator cautioned. ‘Believe none other concerning this matter.’

The second tree was noble and tall, truth and life knotted into its limbs. They loved to embrace it, resting against its resinous trunk, their cheeks laid upon its satin wood.

But the third was mysterious and terrible. They shuddered and went not that way. Yet it was strong and fair, and they knew not why it should appal them.

And the siren call of the first tree enticed them.

And they partook.

With grief the Creator cast them from the Garden and from all its blessings, wresting them from the second tree, to which they clung with hopeless tears. But even in his wrath, he birthed within them a future hope. And as he spoke of it, the Creator nodded towards the third tree. And the third tree inclined its boughs towards its Creator, and waited.

***

The third tree released its seed to the earth, and it lay buried in the ground until the time came when life stirred within it.

***

The deeds of wickedness mounded high, and the Creator-Avenger lamented over the rape of his creation.

‘I will sluice the earth,’ he declared. ‘I will cleanse it of its foulness, that the mountains may breathe again, and the streams laugh once more.’

But in mercy, the Creator-Avenger provided deliverance for a few.

And the seed, full-grown, was felled and fashioned into a boat. So it was an instrument in the Creator-Avenger’s gracious plan of salvation.

***

But the tree had released its seed to the earth, and it lay buried until the time came when life stirred within it.

***

The deeds of wickedness mounded high, and the Creator-Avenger-Lawgiver drew apart a people for himself.

‘I will teach them my ways,’ he declared. ‘They will taste my forgiveness. I will paint them such a picture of sin and mercy that the whole world will witness my love.’

And the seed, full-grown, was felled and hacked into firewood; kindling for the goat-sacrifice, beneath the Shekinah presence of the Creator-Avenger-Lawgiver. So it was an instrument in his gracious plan of salvation.

***

But the tree had released its seed to the earth, and it lay buried until the time came when life stirred within it.

***

The deeds of wickedness mounded high, and the Creator-Avenger-Lawgiver-Redeemer unveiled the definitive solution.

And the seed, full-grown, was felled and hewn into a wooden cross, and the heavens were rent by the death of God. So it was an instrument in his gracious plan of salvation.

For he released his Son to the earth, and he lay buried until the time came when life stirred within him.

For the one who was Creator, Avenger and Lawgiver had been Redeemer from the beginning.


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This article has been read 1318 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sue Dent08/24/06
I had to wait for the goosebumps to go away before I could comment. Good Lord! What an entry. Three trees in the garden. . .I saw where this was going and still couldn't wait to read it! Most unbelievably excellent!! Thank goodness this wasn't in advanced. Whew!!!
Lynda Schultz 08/24/06
Marvelous! I love how you put all the pieces together connected by the seeds of a tree. Great stuff here!
Jan Ackerson 08/25/06
I particularly love your use of lyrical language here, and your creative twist on an old folk tale. Oh, and your names for God which build on each other. This is wonderful, beautifully written.
Beth Muehlhausen08/28/06
Masterful for sure! This has a "high" feeling...the same feeling I get when entering a cathedral with ornate paintings, tall ceilings, pillars, stained glass, and liturgical worship in progress.
Jan Ross08/28/06
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Masterfully written! I love it!!! :)
Deborah Bauers08/28/06
How very clever! I was instantly drawn into this story, waiting to know the meaning of the third tree. Excellent! I loved it!
Joanne Sher 08/29/06
Oh, Helen - this is masterful. I loved your lyrical language as well, and the wonderful, wonderful message you so wonderfully expressed in this. Thank you for your writing!
Rita Garcia08/30/06
Creative Masterpiece! Looks like another win!!
Ruth Neilson08/30/06
wow.
Sherry Wendling09/09/06
Helen, it's just beautiful! It has the feel of legend, something lofty and full of awe of the ages. (Move over, Tolkien!) The end is especially rich. A winner in my book!
Dixie Phillips 05/23/07
OH MY....... What a story!!!! It honestly should be made into a video! Very visual. Great job! Intense applause!