Mrs Marshall, a little Welsh lady migrated to Australia with her husband and seventeen year old son. The couple wanted a better life for their son and thought a new start in Australia might be the answer.
One of Mrs Marshall’s problems was a tree in the wrong place in her backyard. She applied to the Housing Trust of South Australia from whom she was renting her home to have it cut down. They consented and Bruce, the local tree-lopper as well as the pastor of a local church, was employed to remove the tree.
The Marshall family were having a hard time making friends in their new country, nothing was working out and they were wishing bitterly they had never come. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, and when Bruce kindly remarked, ‘you seem to be having a hard time,’ it was the cue for Mrs Marshall to list her mishaps and disillusionment with Australia.
Six months previously, she underwent a hip replacement. She hardly settled back home with her new hip when she fell and broke her leg. Back to hospital for several weeks. The pressure of all their mishaps caused Mr. Marshall to suffer a heart attack and be placed in Intensive Care.
Teen-aged son was alone, unsupervised, no-one to care for him and unable to care for himself. He fell into bad company and was running amok. Mrs and Mrs Marshall were both in hospital and helpless to care for their son, fretted and worried.
Returning home the second time, you’ve guessed it, she fell and damaged her knee. Mrs Marshall was getting about with the aid of crutches and feared she would never walk again.
Bruce alerted the ladies of his fellowship to Mrs Marshall’s plight and they responded with food, house-help and friendship.
With the drop of a tree, God stepped in. God didn’t exactly answer Mrs Marshall’s prayers the way she expected. She was angry at God for his apparent desertion and not answering her prayers. Besides, in Mrs Marshall’s world, pastors didn’t have secular work, they were equal with God. Her concept of Christianity was challenged.
It may seem a funny way to love us, but God’s love for us caused his son, his beloved son to die and indwell us, making us acceptable to God. Of course, we have to believe and accept this truth if we want to access this wonderful place.
God’s actions and those of Jesus cannot be retracted just because we have hard feelings toward him. God’s love for us never falters. As Mrs Marshall reconnected with God his love drenched her again, and after being prayed for she put away her crutches for good.
Bruce adhered to the thought of worker/priest because it kept him in touch with people. Bruce believed that to serve only as a pastor was to live in isolation. He felt it was an unnatural life. He also believed it was not the practise of the early church or of the Lord himself, and he sought to break the image.
BREAK THE IMAGE
Jesus was the greatest image breaker of all. As the Son of the Father, he was present at the creation of the universe, he was a prince, he, and the Father were one. Yet Jesus consented to come to earth as a lowly carpenter, live in poverty, and walk around demonstrating the love of his Father for the people. Jesus spoke in synagogues, homes, on hillsides, he ate with the rank and file. Jesus didn’t fit the image then and he doesn’t now. Most people want to keep the images and concepts of the law and self-effort rather than replace them with the truth as presented by Jesus.
Jesus, the heavenly image breaker, captivated Bruce the tree lopper and the two became as one. Mrs Marshall and her family were among many that were restored to the Father.