Where There is a Tree, There is a Village
May 3, 2018
Trees have and continue to play an important role in my life. I have always been fascinated by these gentle giants’ as long as I can remember. As a child I climbed trees as high as I could just to sit on the big limbs. As I got older, my brother and I built tree forts in the woods. And, as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed the sound of wind blowing through the branches. Trees also represent personal qualities I admire most; strength and resilience along with their ability to provide comfort and rest to others. In ancient cultures there was an old saying, “Where there is a tree, there is a village.” These simple words speak volumes to me. Trees become a place where a community meets, weary travelers find rest, and the shade provides protection from the sun and the weather.
How do we celebrate trees? If you check the calendar, you just missed National Arbor Day on April 27. It is always celebrated on the last Friday in April. Many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year, based on best tree planting times for their area. In Florida it was January 19, this year. Check out the map on www.arborday.org to know when your state observes Arbor Day.
Even more fascinating to me is what the Bible say about trees? In reading and preparing for a Sunday school Lesson I gave on “Plants of the Bible”, it comes as no surprise that the Bible begins and ends in a garden; and in each garden, a tree is the central theme.
In Genesis, God creates a garden, Eden, which represents the world as it was meant to be—-paradise.
Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:3 (NIV)
Yet in this garden, the biblical story tells us, paradise was lost as humans turned away from God’s will when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Bible ends in a garden as well.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22: 2 (NIV)
Paradise has been restored where a Tree of Life grows. The writer of Revelation describes this garden, saying that in it, there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
If you plant a tree for Arbor Day, or build a tree fort, or sit under a tree, or read about plants and trees in the Bible, remember what a gift they are to those who find refuge under their mighty branches. Trees have a lot to teach us…the message is eternal.