I used to spend my summers out in Cilliwack with my grandfather. Actually, he was the caretaker for the local girl guides camp and what teenage boy could refuse going out and helping his grandfather in such an adventurous endeavor but to look after those who would stay in such beautiful places!! I can remember many times heading into Vancouver and hanging out in Stanley Park with my uncles and grandfather after a day in the fish markets. These are memories which will always stay with me for the rest of my life. One of these memories is climbing around and inside this hollow old tree! I still remember what blew my mind the most was to fathom that this tree actually was just a little seedling trying to grow on the shores of BC during the time that Jesus walked the earth!!! Did you know that?
Recently the provincial authorities have been discussing the need to bring the tree down. It's not that they do not recognize its beauty or the many that have personal memories of great significance which are centered around this tree. It simply is becoming too dangerous for it to remain in such a public position. It has saddened many in the communityto see this and some have attempted to petition the government to maintain the tree as a national landmark.
When things die, it is a time for mourning and emotions always take us back to the memories of old. The sad state to this tree’s standing is not so much the case of BC’s government not being willing to spend the funds necessary to brace it. Truth is, it is already being held by a number of guide lines and support structures which the parks department has put in place. The sadness comes when we reflect on the community’s unwillingness to find the beauty in God’s plan for natural creative rebirth within nature!
Metaphorically I have heard many pastors reflect on the hollow nature of this tree as being reflective to the dangers of the individual following Jesus with an outer appearance at the neglect of a truthful heart. But, what does this look like in the sense of community and corporate placements? What does the metaphor look like when considering the gathering of the church?
I think in some senses it is dangerous to consider the ideologically accepted norm to be eternally sustainable. Beauty IS what is in the heart - the memories, the community and social movements, the moment (space & time) - in the truest sense… the SPIRIT! That is something that cannot be replaced however nor is it something which can be eternally prolonged. Things change and social dynamics die.
We have something else though to fall back on which is promised through Jesus. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25). We have the promise of rebirth. We have the promise of… Resurrection!!!
What are some of the resurrection stories or metaphors to which you have in your life?