On Arbor Day in April someone brought a bunch of White Pine seedlings to the Sunset Hills Community. They were free for the taking. I brought one home and planted it. However, rather than taking root it turned brown and has apparently died.
This past Sunday was arbor day in the kingdom of God. We are the trees of the Lord, his plantings. In psalm 92, the righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. We are plants in the house of God. Even in old age we are full of sap and green. Psalm 1 tells us that we are like a tree planted by a stream of water, who delights in the meditating on the word of the Lord, bearing the fruit of God’s grace. Ezekiel 15 picks up the same theme as we branch out and produce fruit. It’s reinforced by Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:30-32. Like mustard seed we are planted to grow and provide a place of protection and safety for others that they too might grow and flourish under God’s rule.
The other side of that picture is seen in the white pine that has apparently died. What if with all that grace shown to us, we wither and die? We mistake the kingdom of the left hand, government and world social norms, for the kingdom of the right hand, God’s rule in our life through Christ, who tells us to love one another, as God has loved us, to show hospitality to strangers, as God has welcomed us into his kingdom. None of us were worthy to be included under his rule, but in grace he has brought us into his kingdom directing us to do the same for others, even those we consider unworthy.
Therefore, we prayed that we might hear, read, mark, learn and digest the scriptures, since they have been written for our learning.