Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Plant Big Trees

The kingdom of heaven
is like a grain of mustard seed
which a man took
    and sowed in his field;
it is the smallest of all seeds,
but when it has grown
it is the greatest of shrubs
      and becomes a tree,
so that
the birds of the air come
   and make nests in its branches.

                 Matthew 13. 31-32

In so many locations our family has moved, there are unsold lots or undeveloped fields around us, waiting to be dug into houses or planted with seasonal crops.  The trees that the developers choose are almost always skinny like so many junior high boys, lanky and awkward, just waiting for a growth spurt.  The trees that are planted are intentionally selected as fast-growing, which means sadly that after a sprint, they will lag in the future, their thin bark attractive to greedy insects and their short roots vulnerable to sudden storms.

God calls me to plant today
   that which the world deems insignificant,
a sacred sowing of grace
        that takes a deep rooting
   and bears fruit not for me.
Even the smallest kindness,
the smallest act of undeserving,
the smallest obedience
          changes the landscape.
May God redeem
        even what I cannot know
        beyond the horizon of my life

As writer Wendell Berry so profoundly states in these few words from his poem Manifesto:  The Mad Farmer Liberation Front:

"Invest in the millennium.
Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant,
    that you will not live to harvest."

And so, my friend, in all attitudes and actions and words and energy today, plant not spindly trees that decorate a yard for a season, but plant the smallest seeds that grow into a forest -- that which will outlive your time on earth and that which you can only see from the Other Side.

O God,
     use us to change the landscape.
Enlarge our vision
deepen our hearts
      that we see what is precious
      in what appears an empty barren field.
Help us to grasp
             the enormity of the forest,
    the vastness of transformed dirt. 

Plant big trees.

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