Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, April 17, Evening – Easter Sunday
By Rev. Jan Buxton Wade, Minister of Spiritual Enrichment
Spirit of the Sycamore
Read: Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV
“You learned Christ … and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life… and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Once, on a day hike with my husband and brother-in-law in the Smokies, we decided to test ourselves in identifying the various trees we encountered along the way. I did fairly well in the task we set for ourselves that afternoon, but I actually was no match for my two companions who grew up in the mountains and who hike every chance they get. Instantly, however, I recognized the one beautiful giant sycamore on the trail because of its peeling bark, discarded and strewn upon the forest floor.
I recalled my college botany professor describing the sycamore as the most tenacious grower in the Southeast. As its branches ascend to the heavens, the increasing tension on the bark causes the outer layer to simply split apart. It was the beautiful underneath layer that held my attention that day, for it revealed a mosaic of mottled white, tan and gray, resembling an old medieval map. I could trace some of the “roads” with my finger, but most of its paths were indistinct, crisscrossed, and seemed to lead nowhere. Its intricacy held such mystery that I lingered too long and was almost left behind!
Moving on across the ridge, I began to think of the maps of our own lives – we don’t always know if we are headed in the right direction; our paths are indistinct and sometimes we feel we are going nowhere. But we are called to grow in trust, depending on grace to get us through. Maybe that grand sycamore reigns on the mountainside even now. With mounds of bark cast aside, it calls to us: “Begin afresh! Begin afresh!”
Designer of the Blessed Earth, how grateful we are that your message of renewal is written in so many ways throughout your holy creation. Give us eyes and ears and hearts to find you this very day. Amen.