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Movement of Crooked Branches

I had some extra time today before class started and I was able to take some time to pray. I walked toward the center of  campus and found a bench to sit down on. Directly in front of me was a tree and I decided as my prayer to meditate on the livelihood of the tree and let it speak to me concerning something of God’s work.

I had to calm my mind from its rational process and also block out the people walking around me.

My mind went in several different directions and then settled on one observation.

In this tree, all of the branches spiraled in crooked directions, full of knots, hitches, bends, and scars. There was no beauty of form, symmetry of design, or balance in the branches. But the tree moved in one direction: up. And the branches had one orchestrated movement: directing their leaves toward the sun’s light.

I saw this tree as the image of my life in Christ and the journey of discipleship. What is seemingly a life of disorder, imbalance, and knotted crookedness finds its life in its continual journey upward and the conscious decision to pursue the source of light and life relentlessly until it is found.

Jesus said, “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in”. (John 8:12)

Michael Shepherd is a student at Fuller Theological Seminary and desires to be, in the words  of Father Daniel Berrigan’s poem, a “mystic with hands”. This entry is cross-posted at his personal site, Life in Tides.


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