Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: The Legend of the Weeping Sycamore
By Deborah Bauers
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Gazing up into the tops of the trees around him, he whispered, "I want to be big, like all of you!" Some of his nearby cousins could boast of having over one hundred rings. The little sprig of green was still very much a fledgling in the forest. Someday, though, he would show them all just what he was made of. "I'm destined for greatness," he thought. "One day I will be a mighty sycamore in this forest. I may be small now, but one day I will a king."
Hundreds of miles away from the forest of sycamores, there was talk of another king, a human child, not yet a year old. This baby boy was being diligently sought by one who wanted to kill him and prevent the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.
"Take your child and your wife and go to a far country. Stay there until I tell you it is safe to return." A young mother's heart burned with the memory of the angel's words. "Your son is destined for greatness; for he will one day be a king and he will save his people from their sin."
. . . Time left its imprint. The tiny seedling was now a mature tree that proudly wore 33 rings. Each ring represented the passing of a human year...
As the early morning sun cast a shaft of light into the forest, men came, carrying heavy wooden axes. They ruthlessly cut down three trees. The mighty sycamore was the last to fall. They drug it from its forest home, through the city streets and up a hill, called Golgotha. And there....they laid upon its sturdy frame, a man. Above the man a sign was hung that said, "King of the Jews"
The sycamore looked first to his left and then to his right, observing the two trees on either side of him. "Ah, then this is my finest hour!" He proclaimed. "See how I am lifted up. I am finally King of the Forest!"
When the first drops began to fall across its rough timbers, the tree shuddered in utter disbelief! A stream of human blood trickled steadily downward, forming a puddle at the base of its timbers. The man spoke, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
The sycamore murmured to himself, "This king is also truly alone." And then in a louder voice, "we are betrayed!" He longed for the comfort of the forest and felt himself, an unwitting participant in this tragedy that was unfolding. "I no longer wish to be a king," he whimpered into the gathering darkness.
"Who do you think you are, anyway?" cried the tree on the left. "You're nothing special. You're cut from the same forest as we are. Get over yourself!"
"Leave him alone!" the tree on the right retorted. "You and I are ordinary trees and we bear the bodies of men who deserve to hang here. But this tree has been specially grown to support the Son of God. Let is be proclaimed that this mighty Sycamore is favored above all other trees! It has been chosen to raise up the Messiah, King of the Jews and Savior of the World". Hearing these words, the privileged sycamore began to weep, mingling its tears with the blood of the crucified Son of God.
When the first rays of the morning sun broke across the eastern sky, the body of the man, Jesus, was taken away to be buried in a rich man's tomb. The favored tree was lifted from its place and laid to rest on the crest of the hill called "The Place of the Skull."
Biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Christ relate many strange and supernatural occurrences which followed the death of Jesus. The earth quaked. Graves were opened. Dead men were seen walking. Legends tell a different story. They speak of 33 trees seen marching across the hillside, bearing the scarred remains of one weeping sycamore... lifted high upon their branches...much like the funeral procession for a stately king.
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