A mangled tree all forlorn and dead, a snake creeping through the grass.
Imagine a world with no sun, clouds every day and rain, such rain as the people who lived in this place would talk many hours about the different types of rain, and there would be shows just about how much and what type of rain there would be.
I feel some days that I live in this world, but I know that there is a sun and it gives life. I have seen the sun, and even though some days I don’t see the sun behind all the clouds I still see evidence that the sun is there behind the clouds far off in space. Trees grow and blossom, life springs from the soil and flowers bloom and life carries on.
This is a metaphor for God. Many people in the past saw Jesus, he was killed brutally on a cross, he was buried in a secure tomb, and then even the Roman army couldn’t stop Him from rising from the dead to be the firstfruits of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit now abides in those who believe in his name, those that believe He is Lord and God. The bible says there are three that testify to His name. The Spirit, the blood and the water.
The evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work is that people’s lives are changed when they encounter Jesus. People are being healed and delivered from the lives that enslaved them to a particular idol, whether that is drugs, or addiction or anything else that separates us from God. Religion does free us, it seeks to enslave, but faith delivers. The rules of the old testament enslaved and Jesus with all his love set us free.
But look at the picture and you may see the tempter is in the grass trying to get you to doubt the very evidence that you have seen and have been given. The dead tree lies in front of the River Lostock in the Cuerden Valley nature park in Lancashire, but this could be the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that dwells in the garden of Eden all dead and discarded.
I was reflecting on the film “Ready Player One”, a world that is so dark that people escape to a virtual world made by computers, and I reasoned that many people are already there. They spend most of their spare time, the time that they choose, to stare at phones and computers rather than create a better world. To drive into a school in a morning and see many people just walking along the road like zombies staring at phones is quite sad.
But there is hope. We can choose to engage with one another and show acts of love to everyone, be ruthless at forgiving everyone and be a child of light.
Trees of life either side of the river.
The river Lostock flows and where ever it meanders there is life. Water is needed for life, but so is the warmth from the sun. As I walked along this river with my family I saw evidence that spring is here amongst us. The trees are budding and the flowers are blooming.
The visitors that came to my door yesterday, I pray for your souls, because you deny that Jesus is Lord, you say he is just another angel, but you deny the very evidence that we have been provided with. His life given feeds all humankind, but you must receive the free gift. He is the very acts of love that people do every day. He is the very power that changes people from self to selfless.
I pray for many people to just reflect on this first section of John’s gospel and receive it’s clear message that Jesus is God.
John 1:1-5, 9, 14
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made;
without Him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.