Tag Archives: trees

Enduring Love vii

Hosea 14:1-9 (CEV)

 Turn Back to the Lord

14 Israel, return! Come back
to the Lord, your God.
    Sin has made you fall.
Return to the Lord and say,
    “Please forgive our sins.
Accept our good sacrifices
    of praise instead of bulls.
Assyria can’t save us,
    and chariots can’t help.
So we will no longer worship
    the idols we have made.
Our Lord, you show mercy
    to orphans.”

The Lord Promises To Forgive

Israel, you have rejected me,
    but my anger is gone;
I will heal you and love you
    without limit.
I will be like the dew—
then you will blossom like lilies
    and have roots like a tree.
Your branches will spread
with the beauty
    of an olive tree
and with the aroma
    of Lebanon Forest.
You will rest in my shade,
    and your grain will grow.
You will blossom
    like a vineyard
and be famous as the wine
    from Lebanon.

Israel, give up your idols!
I will answer your prayers
    and take care of you.
I am that glorious tree,
    the source of your fruit.

If you are wise, you will know
    and understand what I mean.
I am the Lord, and I lead you
    along the right path.
If you obey me,
    we will walk together,
but if you are wicked,
    you will stumble.

It has not worked out
as I may have imagined,
the things I thought
could save me
have let me down.
I was wrong.
I made bad choices,
got distracted
from what really matters,
was swayed by the crowd,
attracted by the shiny…

And so,
I come back to you Lord,
and I ask your forgiveness.

You promise
never to reject me,
to accept me,
to love me without limit.

You know what the image of a tree means to me.
Life has left me
feeling dry,
lifeless,
fruitless,
having no purpose

2012-11-11 14.29.22But you
promise me life,
strong roots,
spreading out in beauty.
I can rest in you
and there will be beauty
and purpose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn your shade,
I will flourish again.

So,
I come to you Lord,
seeking your rest
and your restoration.
Work in me,
I pray,
that we may walk together
into all
that you have prepared.

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for saving me.
Thank you for tending my wounds.
Thank you for supporting me.
Thank you for rebuilding me
in your strength
and love.

Come, Let Us Return

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Bearing Fruit?

In our garden, we have a miniature pear tree.  It has been there now for four years, and has never yet produced any blossom, never mind any fruit.  I wonder how long I have to give it, how long it gets to take up space without giving anything back, or earning its keep.

At the moment it looks very bedraggled on a cold, wet winters day, but I live in hope.  Maybe this year…

2013-02-25 09.30.34

Luke 13:1-9

Turn Back to God

13 About this same time Jesus was told that Pilate had given orders for some people from Galilee to be killed while they were offering sacrifices. Jesus replied:

Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them? Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also be killed. What about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also die.

A Story about a Fig Tree

Jesus then told them this story:

A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. One day he went out to pick some figs, but he didn’t find any. So he said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs on this tree, and I haven’t found any yet. Chop it down! Why should it take up space?”

The gardener answered, “Master, leave it for another year. I’ll dig around it and put some manure on it to make it grow. Maybe it will have figs on it next year. If it doesn’t, you can have it cut down.”

Jesus has come to implore the people to turn back to God.  Not because if they don’t God will be angry, but because he knows that God’s ways are the very best ways for people to live – the way to get the best, all that was intended, out of life.

As an aside, he gives us a pointer about suffering:

You know that tower that fell over, and killed eighteen people?  They were no worse than anyone else.  They didn’t die because they were worse sinners than everyone else.

Then Jesus tells them a story.

How annoyed would you be if your fig tree/pear tree/raspberry canes or any other produce were not bearing fruit – and had consistently failed to bear fruit for a number of years?  You would lose patience and uproot it, make room for something that was going to fruit.

Yet the gardener begs for another year, another opportunity to come good.

Jesus is well aware of when things have gone wrong, when expected fruit has not appeared.

He sees that in our lives too.  When we have not done what we could or should, when we have not reached the expected standard, when our lives are not bearing fruit.

There may be those who want to stop us, who want to cut us short.  BUT, God says there is another chance, another opportunity.

Yes, there will come a time when enough is enough, but for now, God says no.  Let’s give them every opportunity, every help, let’s see what happens.  There is more time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad God gives me another chance.  That he doesn’t want to cut me down now with the results I have, but gives me further opportunity to get it right – with his help.

So if you are feeling it’s all gone wrong, you’re not doing what you should, or you’re not worthy of your place in God’s orchard – God says let’s give it another go.  I’m here to help you, to nourish you, I’m not going to cut you down or throw you out.

Thank God for that.

Thank you Lord

for second, third, fourth and more chances.

Thank you that you do not want us cut down

and thrown away,

but want us to succeed.

Thank you that we are not left alone to do that,

but you seek to nourish us

and help us grow.

Lord,

I long to produce fruit for you,

help me

I pray

Life in a Different Way

Today, I was lucky enough to be able to go for a wander in the beech woods at Lady Spencer’s walk at Hardwick Hall.  A nice flat stroll, with plenty of opportunity to look at the trees.

I loved this tree – so expressive!

But I was also reminded again of life – and death – and a new way of living.

This tree is dead, dried up and rotted. Useless you would think.  Yet not so. There is moss growing on it and ivy entwining itself around it – there is life – but not as it would traditionally be seen for a tree.

And this tree is providing a place for fungi to grow on.

The board in the woods makes it clear that when trees and branches are cut down, they are left on the woodland floor to house insects.

What appears to be dead, is very much alive and useful.

A parable for our lives I think.