Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)
TITLE: The Shalom Tree
By Helen Murray
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Love that word “Shalom”. As a greeting recipient with every good thing one could want for oneself. – things like prosperity, health, peace, success, joy. As I understand it Jewish people meeting each other, bless each other with such a beneficent blessing. .It beats “Good Morning”, although there’s nothing wrong with that. It leaves “Hi” and How’re ya doin’?” a country mile behind.
So much so that I believe I ‘ll adopt it permanently as my form of greeting. Why not offer the very best each day to anyone who will listen?
Not that listening is fashionable these days. Blowing one’s own horn, pushing one’s own barrow is more the national past-time. But Christians are not mainstreamers. This is what is so beautiful about them. The real Christian stands out from the crowd, often rejected until someone has a problem, and then they discover that their Christian friend is the one to whom they might trust their confidence.
This trust the Christian has won by standing gently, quietly, strongly for the right and the truth, when all the others were having a fine time pouring retribution on some poor chap, and in so doing, winning the approval and disgust. of some piddling bully or manipulative minx.
So, all that mockery and taunting was simply the measuring of the truth contained in our Chrstian. A recording hidden away until needed on the day of crisis. A recognition of reality greater than the peer imposed submission., a testing of the waters of Life indeed. How deeply rooted is this tree that grows by the waters of Life? How shady are its branches, and how succulent its fruit? When the crisis comes the atheist doesn’t actually mind it that Christian prays for him –
What they don’t understand is that all their taunting mockery was adding steel to the Christian backbone, making him more and more sure of the Truth and Wisdom that is his heritage. Oh, the tree grows strong and fast on the composting fecundity of trashy behaviour if it doesn’t fall for it. And those suffering decomposition on the forest floor will ask of the tree its succulent fruit in due season.
And for this very time the tree was grown there. For this very purpose the tree drank of the river of living water and grew powerful and mighty on the very fertiliser of the rotting vegetation of gossip and retribution, jealousies and scorn. Such a tree offers shelter, fruit, beauty under a protective canopy of love. The tree is rich indeed, and quite happy to be plundered of its plentiful fruit of wisdom and truth which tastes like faith, hope and love, mmmmmmm, delicious.
Poor old tree! It’s actually a bit weatherbeaten, when you look at it closely. Someone carved an initial here, chopped a branch off there, pruned it hard some years. None of that stopped the timeless flow of water and nutrition from the soil up through the trunk – the garbage processed into wisdom, the water processed into truth.. Weatherbeaten, but magnificent, bearing the mark of the good gardener, strong and deeply rooted over the years, established and immoveable, able to bloom again each spring and produce more delectable fruit. A good tree to have around. A tree that functions in rain or drought, fair weather or foul, doesn’t make much difference really, just keeps on growing, producing, providing. This is “The Shalom Tree”. It can recognised by the love canopy, by its generousity, its constancy. It knows its source won’t run dry. That’s all it needs. The rest is a piece of cake!
The Shalom Tree functions magnificently, even beatifically, because of the security and abundance of supply.
I function like the Shalom Tree, in the abundant sufficiency and security of supply of my Heavenly Father’s Living Water. His Son's redeeming blood, like tree sap, is my personal peace. Whatever (the proverbial) “they” throw at me will rot and be turned to good account for me as wisdom, and the waters of my well are the living waters that flow eternally from the throne of grace.
From one little sapling to another:
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