Posts Tagged ‘sequoia’

I began my last post by imagining that the giant sequoia that fell over three hundred years ago suddenly some Sunday it appeared upright and alive again. What would the world do?

1.            The story would be printed and broadcast all over the world. For about five years, the site would almost rival Disneyland for yearly visitors.

2.            In spite of all the pictures and reports, some would not believe that it was true! (We talked about this in the last post: Fallen Monarch and Faith.

3.            Some people would begin worshipping the tree! Every Sunday there would be a gathering of thousands to talk about life and death and trees. Even hundreds of years later, those who now dance at Stonehenge on the spring equinox would come to California to dance around the wondrous sequoia, now called the Phoenix!

4.            Some would explain it through extraterrestrial powers.

5.            Scientists would immediately start searching for a rational explanation. Investigations of the tree itself would commence immediately. Although the very act defies scientific explanation, prominent arborologists would offer a whole spectrum of speculative explanations for the phenomenon.

6.            And some century in the not-too-distant future, someone would challenge the old story that the tree had ever been dead, suggesting that the more primitive science of the 21st century could not really know if it were dead or not.

You are much too smart an audience to need me to connect the dots for you between the fantastical sequoia story and the resurrection of Jesus.  And we have already talked about why we believe that Jesus is alive, so now let’s talk about something much harder:  how has this historical event changed your life?

Try to finish this sentence: Because Jesus was raised from the dead and is now alive, I ______________.I’ll go first:

1.            I have confidence that his claim to be the Son of God is true. If the resurrection is not a lie, then I become more confident of all that He said.

2.            I believe that if he conquered death, he is powerful enough to do the miracles attributed to him. He can calm the storms, he can feed the multitudes, he can raise the dead.

3.            All the dead people he raised died again! That’s not enough. I once read a fictional account describing Lazarus after Jesus called him out of his tomb and it was not pretty. Lazarus suffered from all kinds of skin and health issues for having been dead for four days.  But to restore life never to be lost again, now that is something I long for. That’s what Jesus has promised, confirming his promise with his own resurrection!

4.            I can live my life now with less fear of death. I do sometimes fear dying—the process is often difficult—but  that is a different fear than one of death as annihilation.

5.            I can approach my own death without a horrible sense of loss—because the promise of resurrection means that everything good, every person I have ever known who has sought God will continue to be a part of my life—forever! All the beauty of God’s creation will be redeemed. Whatever wisdom and truth I have discovered in my life will not be lost, but will be confirmed as God’s own truth—meant to be discovered.

6.            Because Jesus was raised from the dead and is now alive, I have a purpose and a task worthy of spending one’s entire life doing, that is, doing good and telling the story so that it is easier for others to believe that Jesus is alive.  My own resurrection does not depend on any success quota or measurement of skill, rather my own resurrection was accomplished on that Sunday when Jesus rose.

Do not leave this page without having answered the question: What difference does the fact of the resurrection make in your life? 

That’s my gift to you today!

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Fallen Monarch in Mariposa Grove

After you park in Mariposa Grove in the southern part of Yosemite, you walk past a sequoia that probably fell over three hundred years ago, which today is called the Fallen Monarch. White people first saw it in 1857, but the tree was already on the ground. The bark contains chemicals that help it resist decay, not eternally but for much longer than average trees.

What if next Sunday, visitors to the park came, parked in the parking lot, reading their usual park material, walked to the edge of the parking lot and saw this huge tree standing upright, roots in the ground, leafed out completely, and apparently growing again!  If they ran to tell the park rangers, the rangers would think they were crazy! If they published pictures on Facebook, people who had seen the dead tree would think the pictures were forged.  What would it take to convince the world that this tree that had been dead for 300 hundred years was now alive????

What if over 500 people told you that they had seen the tree alive?  What if they wrote accounts about it and published them on the internet?  Would you believe it then?

I keep thinking about the people who don’t believe that men ever landed on the moon or that JFK is alive on the top floor of Parkland Hospital in Dallas—or that the president was not born in Hawaii. To believe that something is true requires more than evidence; it requires faith!

What happened the day after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?  I know that the priests and the elders paid off the guards to spread the story that the body was stolen, so whoever talked to them had their disbelief confirmed by “eyewitnesses.”

I don’t know how the high priest explained the ripped curtain in the temple, or how the people in Jerusalem who saw those bodies of the godly men and women who were raised and who had wandered into the city and “were seen by many.”

Even the remaining eleven of the inner circle had trouble believing.  Mark reports, probably as Peter reported to him, that Jesus “rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead” (16:14)!  And Thomas held out at least another eight days!

How much harder must it be 2000 years removed to believe that Jesus rose from the grave! But for those of us who do believe it to be true, it changes everything—absolutely everything!

So the question for today is why do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? If you only give me “evidences,” then I think your faith is vulnerable to rational attack. If your belief, however, includes “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), then you need have no fear that you’ve been tricked!

God gave life to the tiny seed that fell to the ground 2000 years ago that became the giant sequoia. He was there when it fell over. God is not only the First Cause, He also creates the essential Effect of every cause.  I believe God caused the Virgin Mary to conceive and give birth; I believe that Jesus was killed on Friday, and I believe with all my heart that He not only was raised on Sunday but is just as alive today. It’s my choice to believe. But I can choose to believe because God gives life to tiny seeds!

Next: What does the resurrection on Sunday change about Monday for you?

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