Over the last six years, I've watched it grow and change and it's now one of my favorite trees in the community. There are several like it but this one is my favorite. It's huge and, for a long time, was totally dead. A few years ago, though, life started to grow out of the dead branches. I'm honestly not sure how - whether another tree grafted itself in or it was not actually completely dead in the first place, the latter of which will totally kill my analogy but bear with me.
So I see this dead tree with new life sprouting from it and it reminds me of our lives in Christ. Again, if your some kind of arborist with a double major in Reformed Theology and are going to write me and tell me the thing wasn't dead, don't bother, I know. I just like the image and I'm using a little creative license.
We are dead. Through mercy and grace we can't really understand, the Lord of the Universe calls us to himself, forgives our sins by placing his wrath instead upon his Son, and breaths new life into us.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away,
behold, the new has come."
2 Cor. 5:17
We who were once dead are made alive in Christ. Part of being grafted in is that, because of Christ's work in our lives, we will bear fruit. We will have life. We can't help it.
But also, like this tree, my dead wood still hangs on and it often gets in the way. Although logic would tell me not to build tree houses in the crooks of the dead stuff, architecture was never my strong suit. I find myself building little castles in the brittle branches of my own heart that have been long since dead in Christ. Eventually, though, and mostly as a result of raging storms, the weak and dead wood will fall away leaving only that which has deep living roots in the firmest of all foundations.
On a side note, when the dead wood finally falls, I'm gonna be right there with a chainsaw cutting that stuff up for firewood. And there's now spiritual analogy in that, I just want to be able to say I used a chainsaw. Once.