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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Raking Leaves

I was raking leaves yesterday, and I will rake again when all the leaves have fallen off our trees. When I was a kid. I enjoyed raking leaves, but it isn’t something I enjoy doing now. When I was a kid, environmentalism may have been a word in scientists’ vocabulary, but it hadn’t slipped into the vocabulary of the general public. All of us kids delighted in raking fallen leaves into huge piles, jumping into the piles, and eventually moving them to the curb, where we set them on fire. I can still visualize the glowing evening embers of bonfires up and down our neighborhood’s streets. If I focus well on that mental image, I can even smell the rising plumes of smoke.
But yesterday, raking leaves was all work and no play. While my lower back muscles signaled displeasure, I mused about conditions in the Garden of Eden. God had charged Adam with the task of caring for the Garden, but did Adam rake leaves?
No, he didn’t. For one thing, backbreaking unpleasant work did not kick in until sin got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden. For another, seasons didn’t exist until after the Noahic Flood. No changing seasons, no fall; no fall, no falling leaves!
The Bible mentions leaves a number of times. Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness by sewing fig leaves together to form aprons (Genesis 3:7). God later clothed them with animal skins (v. 21). Human beings still try to look presentable to God by doing something on their own—good deeds, church attendance, religious rites, etc.—when they really need the covering for sin God provided through the shed blood of Jesus. (See Romans 4:4–8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4–10.)
Psalm 1 features the delight a righteous person experiences when he meditates on God’s Word. Also, meditating on the Word makes his life meaningful and fulfilling. He is like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatsoever he does prospers” (verse 3).
During His earthly ministry, Jesus approached a fig tree that had leaves but no fruit. He promptly consigned it to a lifetime of barrenness. Apparently, the fig tree resembled Israel’s religious condition—all show and no fruit. The Lord still detests hypocrisy. He is not impressed by empty religious ceremonies and phony religious actions.
Revelation 22:2 describes the celestial city, New Jerusalem, as having “the tree of life” with leaves “for the healing of the nations.” I believe the New Jerusalem will hover over Earth as a satellite city during the millennial reign of Christ on Earth. At that time, the nations will submit to His lordship, and peace and prosperity will abound. Further, human beings will enjoy extraordinary longevity, perhaps due to the healing properties inherent in the leaves of the tree of life. It is not out of the realm of reasonable speculation that representatives of the nations will shuttle back and forth to the New Jerusalem to obtain the tree’s medicinal properties.
You may want to think about these few Biblical references to leaves next time to rake your yard. I know I will.
Rake on!

2 comments:

Sumana said...

Jim,

I love this blog. I can just about smell the fallen leaves, jumping around in the pile of leaves and the smell of burning leaves.....

Sumana

Sumana said...

Jim,

I loved the blog on raking up the autumn leaves. Could almost imagine myself there....

And Sadie - she is sweet. A real cuddly fluffy bundle of fur. She almost converts me into a real dog lover from a cat lover. :)

Penrose sounds like a friendly place. Have a lovely time being the interim pastor there and may they be blessed by your pastoral care of them.

Sumana



sumana