I am Forgiven
12 April 2019
Lying in a dried pile of potential in my back garden, with buzzards circling overhead, are the carcasses of indoor trees that have not survived my attempts at botanical glory. Bonsai and Dragon… neither their exotic names nor cost saved them from my lack of horticultural knowledge. Hence, I face the reality that I am not skilled at planning a fruitful result for trees. But I want to share with you about how God’s planting of three specific trees made a life-altering mark in our human story.
In the opening pages of the Bible, we read about a tree, a snake and some Australians. At the beginning of Earth’s history, God planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden where He spent time with his creation. The tree gave humans the choice of spending eternity in a trusting union with him or of following a path of self. God gave Adam and Eve guidelines of freedom and instructions regarding the consequences of eating from the tree. Despite this, they chose to speak with and listen to the snake (aka Satan) over God. Now, my personal theory is that Adam and Eve must have been Australians, for only an Australian would willingly move closer to a talking snake in a tree, rather than run in the opposite direction. They probably even tried picking it up by the tail! Interestingly, the conversation between Satan and humanity in Genesis 3, was around three areas: Pride (the promise they would be like God); presumption (the intimation they would not surely die despite God saying they would) and appetite (the fruit on the tree was pleasing to the eye). The hiss of these temptations remains a challenge today; the language has been updated as well as what is being offered, but the heart of the sin problem is still the same. We focus on our ambitions and put ourselves above others at any cost; God’s word is regarded as irrelevant to us; and we chase after things for short-term pleasure. It is the ‘sin problem’ and none of us are immune to its grab… But there was One who overcame the problem.
God’s second tree was on a hill called Calvary. In the cross’ branches was Jesus. He had been caring for the outcast, healing the sick and giving a message of hope, yet He was hung on a cross in order to take the place of sinners. The Earth shook and the sun refused to shine. In what seemed to be Earth’s darkest hour, He called out “It is finished!”, and provided the perfect sacrifice. What a tree! What a life-altering moment! Thankfully, whether I destroy Bonsai trees or not, I am forgiven. Whether a lot more serious matters entangle the stages of my life, I am forgiven. The good news of Easter is: I AM FORGIVEN. The third and final tree appears in Revelation 22, at the end of the Bible and Earth’s linear history. It is the tree of the New Earth in the midst of God’s great city. This tree symbolizes the healing, restoration and everlasting life God has planned for us. When God planted a tree at the beginning of time, we rebelled. So, He planted the second tree and his Son offered Himself on it to rescue us. Finally, He will plant the third tree to be a beacon of our lives being eternally with Him.
May this Easter be a time of enjoyment and celebration of what God has done for us all. We as a staff pray that your holidays will be safe, enjoyable and refreshing, and we look forward to seeing your families as you return in Term 2.
Stage 2 Cordinator