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A walk in the trees – grace and the law

May 9, 2013

This morning I took a walk in the local woods.

forest1I was thinking as I walked along in the middle of a commercial, managed forest.

At a distance the woodland looked lush and green – but as I moved into the trees there was a different story.

I saw trees densely packed either side of the hard-packed logging road.  Imported species of trees, packed ‘efficiently’ together so that little or no natural light made it down to ground level.  In places great trees had fallen as their roots had little to grow in.  The pale gray soil devoid of health.

Where trees were harvested the ground looked like it was ruined, raped, shredded. Dead.

There was no life… it was a desert.  I couldn’t wait to get away.

I crossed under a railway line into a different woodland.

This place was chaos – differing varieties of indigenous, deciduous trees spread their arms to the heavens… grass and wild flowers grew in the dappled light.

forest2

The air smelt of buds, and flowers, and new growth.  Old trees seeming to gather round new shoots encouraging them to grow, to reach, to be.  Red winged butterflies, danced around. And where the ground was open, there was deep dark soil. Full of the potential for life.

The sound of bird-song was deafening.

Here – here I could have spent the rest of the day. Just being.

Selah.

At present I’m pondering about the law and grace… and something about my walk today made me think more about it.

I reflected on a passage from Matthew 19…

3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked.

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended”.

Now while this passage is a response specifically to a question about divorce – it’s not simply that subject that Jesus response speaks to me.

Could it be read this way?…

The “law of Moses”, is a concession to your hard hearts – it is not what God had originally intended.

Under the law we have structured, managed, rules – right or wrong… things man can do to be efficient… Jesus called those who lived by the law whitened graves… like the managed forest… dead.  The fruit of the commercial forest is only the trees themselves.

What ‘Law’ does Jesus say we should follow… “love the lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and spirit. And Love your neighbour as yourself”… this is what God originally intended.  Grace…

The natural forest I was in today had an abundance of life… little structure to it, chaotic… but rich and fertile.  It’s fruit was colourful, wild and varied.

When we live into the calling to Love God, Love one-another… we are living as God intended, in that place of Grace.  It’s a fruitful, colourful, wild and chaotic place… but you’ll want to stay.

 

 

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