"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." - Isaiah 11:1
A Facebook friend of mine and her young daughter were walking in a shopping mall when the child suddenly stopped, took a panoramic look around and said, "Look, Mom, we are in a forest of people."
Her daughter is right. People ARE like trees in a forest. Each with roots: some that run shallow, some that delve deep. Each with branches: some gnarled, some reaching, some drooping. Some are tall and majestic, like the giant redwoods of California. Some are gorgeous like the cedars of Lebanon.
Each with blemishes; each with hue. All turning toward the sun. All with a thick exterior covering vulnerabilities with varying degrees of success. Some snapped in half by failing to bend with the wind. Some with lives cut short like the stump of Jesse.
If I were to draw but a single line to illustrate where we are separate from the rest of creation, I would not know where to place it. Instead, I listen to the counsel of a child I have never met, and I see the tree in me, and the me in tree, and the me in we, and the we in me.
I begin to pray to the God of ALL creation that we may all be one, but I pause to ponder if, perhaps, we already are, but just don’t know it… yet.
God of all, from what is left of me, may there sprout forth the fruit of what is best of me, and may it blessed be, until I find rest in thee. Amen.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of several books, including A Life Worth Waiting For! and Forgiving Our Grownup Children (Pilgrim Press). He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.