BLOG

THE TREE LOPPER

 

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.

P1300627.JPGTREE FELLED

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.

P1300625.JPG

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.

P1330890.JPG
Enter a caption

RESTORED

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.

 

BLOG

LES WAS A FOSSIKER

 

P1340344
The brooch above is opal and zircon. Jesus told a story about the Kingdom of Heaven how it was like a pearl – very valuable – and anyone discovering the Kingdom valued it so much they gave up everything else to gain a place in the Kingdom. To me Jesus is like a perfect pearl – when I found him I was more than happy to follow him at the expense of everything else.

 

Les was a fossicker.  He had spent the day digging fruitlessly among the rocks for amethysts. The clang of spades on rocks sounded loud in the drowsy somnolence hanging over the scrub.

‘I might be onto something here,’ Les’s voice broke the quiet afternoon

Carefully he scraped and brushed away the dirt and was able to lift a huge crystal from its hiding place. It lay in his hand winking at him. His joy knew no bounds.

Somewhere in the long ago, the crystal had formed in a cataclysmic upheaval.  It had lain hidden for countless eons, a treasure formed in the dark until Les found it.

Isaiah recorded the word of the Lord to Cyrus, ‘I will give you the treasures hidden in the darkness, secret riches; you will know that I am doing this – I the Lord God of Israel, The Lord found me the one who calls you by your name.’

I often wondered what this verse meant.  It has slowly dawned over time that the treasure spoken of was learning to praise the Lord in all situations.  Learning the power of intercessory prayer, learning to believe in God in the face of opposition, leaving behind grudges, forsaking pride embracing the humility of obedience.  These attributes were formed, like the crystal,  in dark times.

P1340348.JPG
Prospecting can become a consuming obsession.  God has prospected for each one of us, he has called us by name. To him, we are beautiful gems.  Why reject such love and esteem? Why not embrace Jesus by faith and live for eternity.

Milton, the great poet of his time, lived in a world of darkness, he was blind.Despite that darkness he wrote immortal poetry.  Likewise Fanny Crosby, also blind, wrote hundreds of hymns that are still sung today, precious crystals of praise and insights about the Lord. They learnt that in times of physical darkness and the darkness of circumstance, the person of the Lord is formed in them.

C.S. Lewis was devastated by the death of his wife.  He described his feelings as though God had slammed a door in his face and double locked the door from the inside.  Later, when his grief subsided he recognised that his walk with God plumbed new depths.  Out of the darkness of grief he was able to write a book that gave hope and life to its readers – a treasure from a secret place.

Paul the apostle was no stranger to the dark places.  From those places he wrote most of the New Testament.  His writings have spanned 2000 years and are treasured and enriched by all who read.

P1340356 - Copy.JPG
In Australia, precious opal is found in Cretaceous age sandstones and mudstones. These sedimentary rocks were deeply weathered and this weathering released silica into the groundwater. Small faults and joints in the rocks formed pathways for movement of the groundwater as it penetrated downwards.

I may have been formed in the kingdom of darkness but I thank God that he searched for me and brought me out of that kingdom into the kingdom of light as Les the fossicker exposed his crystal to the light. I also praise God that he has taken me through the dark times so that I found the secret richness of him in my life. More and more over the years I can say with Paul, ‘We rejoice when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us to learn to be patient.’