Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: Seeing the Forest for the Trees
By Pamela Bridgeman
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“The trees are the forest,” observed Lydia, her head slightly tilted, her brows furrowed. “I’ve never understood that proverb,” she continued ignoring Cady’s exasperation.
“Oh Lydia, must I explain everything?”
“You’ve been explaining why my spirituality is…” began Lydia.
“Of course trees make up the forest; but a forest is more than just a bunch of individual trees all in one place, “ Cady interrupted. “A forest has character and purpose.”
“What has that got to do with my spiritual path? I’m impressed with your view of the forest. My friends and me agree that the forest is alive – alive with the essence of Gaia. And by the way, your little attitude seems contrary to all that Christian love you talk about,” Lydia protested sarcastically. “Aren’t you supposed to draw me with loving kindness? Shouldn’t you demonstrate grace?”
“Yes, Lydia, I apologize. Please forgive me for being so arrogant.”
“You’re just a fanatic,” She said lightheartedly. Then with deep conviction, “You should go to that forest you described and let the life force flow through. It will bring you peace.”
Cady studied her friend for a moment. She prayed, Lord give me wisdom and then she responded.
“When God created heaven and earth and everything in it, he designed a balance to sustain the existence of his crowning creation, humanity. The forest lives, yes. It lives in the sense that it is part of a physical balance that produces clean air and food and other ecological functions that make human life possible. That’s the purpose I meant.”
“Now that’s arrogance. To believe humans are the only things that matter in this world.”
“Not the only thing that matters; but it is for humanity that all things that matter were created. More specifically, it is for the purpose of pointing humanity to the creator. The wonder of earth, the way it is designed and populated always begs the question, how does this exist. For the earnest seeker, that question leads back to the God of the bible.”
“Intelligent design?” It was more of a statement than a question. Cady could see the curiosity in Lydia’s eyes. She could hear it in her voice.
“And what has that got to do with my spirituality?”
“The intelligent designer of the earth is also the savior of humanity. It is that salvation that brings the peace you spoke of earlier, not an impersonal force flowing through trees or earth or wind or fire or water.”
“I think I’m starting to understand this relationship between the forest and the trees,” Lydia said softly. “But maybe you could do that explaining you tried to do a moment ago.”
“The forest in the proverb represents salvation. Salvation is redemption to eternal life; it is joy – wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. It is daily abundant living – faith, hope and love. The trees represent the individual discoveries that make up the forest. There is a tree a want to tell you about.”
“Yes; it is the first tree in the forest.”
“It is the tree upon which Jesus of Nazareth hang one Passover. That tree was in the form of a cross and it stood on Calvary’s hill, known as Golgotha, the place of the skull. Jesus died that day.”
“That story has always been disturbing to me.”
“It’s not just story. And Lydia, there is no need to be disturbed by it. Jesus didn’t stay dead. He was laid in tomb…”
“I heard something on the History Channel about Jesus’ tomb the other night. They say it really exists.”
“Yes, and what most historians won’t tell you is not only does it tomb exists; but it is empty because three days after he was buried, he rose again. And Lydia?”
“Ten minutes ago, I would have walked away from you; but something’s got hold of me. I feel like crying and there’s a…a…”
“A feeling of peace and joy?”
“Do you belief this story of Jesus?”
“Then, that’s why you are feeling what you feel.”
“Shouldn’t we pray or something,” Lydia asked.
Placing her arm around her shoulder she said tenderly, “We should and shall do just that.” They began walking to the coffee shop where they always debated spirituality. As they walked they prayed a prayer of salvation and thanked God that Lydia finally saw the forest despite the trees.
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