Book Drawing: Leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll enter your name for an April book drawing to win a copy of The Stained Glass Pickup.
Jimmy C. won the book last month. It’s in the mail, Jimmy.
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Gorgeous lime green color is decorating tree branches this spring as new leaves bud out on dead looking limbs and twigs. Within the year, crape myrtles will sprout pink chiffon frills and pecan trees yield another crop of nutmeats for chocolate chip cookies.
When Montgomery County mulberry trees beckon bluejays and squirrels to a one-course meal, I fondly remember Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) and his famous poetry line, “Only God can make a tree.”
Trees also furnish “shade” blessings for humans and habitation for the birds and the bees. Although I’ve never actually stood in its shade, there’s another tree that especially fascinates me – the family tree. After the waters settled into the seas and mountains stretched their stony muscles skyward, this tree took root. A portion of dust and a few basic minerals were genetically engineered to begin the family tree.
Today, we humans live in the shadow of eons-old branch ancestors. Statisticians believe all humans are kin by no more than a 50th cousin relationship. All those 50th cousins are surely difficult to keep up with. It’s tough just keeping up with first and second cousins, Sonya in Zimbabwe, Dorothy in California and Jean in Houston.
God blessed humanity with physical families and also with the church family. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians he told them how every nationality could be one in Christ saying that Christ “himself is our peace” and that he “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” the old law. Paul went on to say that Christ is able to reconcile all to God “through the cross” (Ephesians 2:14-18). Those who come to Christ are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (4:19).
The church family is as varied as family trees -- many personalities, many races and many occupations. Family skeletons, yes, the church has some, but its design is to be a place of refuge just like physical families were meant to be. Often the church is referred to as “the body of Christ.”
Just as a physical body responds to commands from the head, the church has one head, Jesus Christ. The church is privileged to have a gentle leader and the genuine love of Jesus.
On a tree at Calvary, Jesus dissolved the relationships of family-tree-distant-cousins. Paul said, “We are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). In the church, discrimination is removed and fiftieth cousin relationships are dissolved. In the body of Christ, one of the best family trees, there are only brothers and sisters.