Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week of May 7, 2017

Every time I encounter Shel Silverstein's poem, "The Giving Tree," I think of my mother.  And I wonder if Silverstein wasn't thinking of a mother-type in his own life when writing.  Yet it seems, if you look deeply enough, there is a parallel conversation at work.  Sure, on the surface, the boy is conversing with the tree.  Look deeper, and that conversation begins to sound like a dialogue between a simpler, playful boy and a grown man worn by the world.  The conversation becomes a dialogue with himself.

Paul spoke about enmity with God in Romans 5.8-10.  I can't help wondering how this piece by Silverstein informs such a Pauline concept.  Maybe on the surface it looks like enmity with God.  For Paul, this specifically meant abusing God's law by enforcing it on others and casting judgement in areas we need work ourselves (i.e. not judging people).  Unintentionally, it meant we made the law increase sin instead of prevent it.  And all of this meant that God's beloved Jesus Christ had to be put to death in order to be raised from the dead, conquering death once and for all.

Put Silverstein and scripture together here, and something cool emerges.  A human can no more be the enemy of God than a tree can be the enemy of a human.  Tree's aren't formidable to people, ultimately.  We aren't formidable to God, ultimately.  The boy in "The Giving Tree" wasn't losing the tree.  He was losing himself.  As God's own image, our enity with God is always enmity with ourselves.

God is very much like that tree in Silverstein's story.

"Come, Boy, sit down.  Sit down and rest." And the boy did.  And the tree was happy.

Have you found rest with THAT image of God within you?

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