The Leaning Tree

 Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

           Unless you're very in-observant, or possibly came in off Grand, or some other way I don't know about, you are aware that we lost an old friend this week. The leaning tree of Cook Ave. I know it was well over sixty years old and it sure caused some people to worry over those many years. Even the 60 year old man in charge of the team that cut it down told me, "That tree has been leaning since I was a little boy."

            While I understand people's concern, especially with our rock wall beneath it, I was never too concerned. I've seen trees in far more precarious positions than our dear old tree. Trees growing out the side of a mountain. Trees that were perched on 1000 foot, even 3000 foot cliffs with a few roots in a small crack in the stone. One of them was very famous in Yosemite. I figured our old tree had far deeper and wider roots, and as long as it was healthy, I wasn't too worried.

            One reason I wasn't worried, simple, just take a look at where the tree was leaning. It was leaning toward The Rock Church, it was leaning toward God! It had survived so many things: storms, high winds, ice and snow, even bad trim jobs by UE. But it never fell - it just kept leaning toward God! Its roots were deep and wide, no doubt reaching into bedrock - which allowed it to strain and reach and lean toward God...and never fall.

            People thought there was something wrong with that old tree...the way it leaned...wasn't natural, it wasn't like other trees. But every time they called a tree doctor to examine it, they all said the same thing, "There is nothing wrong with that tree. It is perfectly healthy...it is just leaning toward The Light."

            But still some doubted, and persisted to worry, "What if it should fall?" Until finally, someone with some clout or perhaps a bit of change, convinced our city to come and cut our tree to the ground.

             Maybe we can learn a lesson from our dear departed tree. Some may think you’re strange when you lean a bit to The Light, and in your life you will surely face some storms and encounter forces that will seek to topple you to the ground. Just remember our old tree - keep yourself well rooted, stand strong upon The Rock, and just keep right on leaning toward God!  ...and you shall not fall!!

In the Redeemer,

Fr. Rick