Trinity Lutheran Church|
Where Jesus' Voice is Heard, Proclaimed and Lived
N60 W6047 Columbia Road
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Pastor's Word for September 2018
As I walked the sun-parched pathways through the ancient forest of trees and
shrubs, I gazed upon gigantic living organisms which have lived for centuries.
Roots peeked through the soil, giving the ground a gnarled and rough look. I
imagine that deep underneath the surface, where the eye could not see, were
roots providing a solid anchor for the massive trunk above it. The base of the
1,700-year-old sequoia, named General Grant, measured 40 feet in diameter. It is
listed as the second largest living organism in the world. It was a breathtaking
sight. Its topmost branches disappeared from sight from where I was standing.
What caught my eye and those of the people around me was not only its size, but
rather the signs of its hardiness. Embedded in each of these majestic giants were
scars of previous fires -- centuries of fires. Black and jagged in areas, the bark of
this magnificent conifer proved that it could endure the worst of what nature
could throw its way and still grow. It simply grew around the wounded parts and
continued to thrive. We learned that the tree had adapted to extreme weather,
especially fires, by producing tannen, a substance that resisted heat and flame.
The other marvelous trait is its bark. It is not hard and rough as it appears from
a distance, but rather, it is soft and spongy. How can this be? Doesnít something
this formidable require a hard protective shell? And what about disease and the
various little creatures, aphids, beetles, etc. that wreak havoc on the trees in our
backyards? Donít they cause these trees to succumb to early mortality? These
questions have us lean into the mystery and adaptive significance of nature at its
As I stood in the midst of this awe-inspiring glimpse of Godís creation, the Holy
Spirit struck me rather suddenly and hard. I am part of this creation and mystery
of God. I too am wounded from the many "fires" that have crippled me at times.
Iíve seen it more in you, the people around me. Iíve seen you endure some of
the most horrific events in your lives and in spite of these, you have survived and
grown while still shouldering the blackness of that pain still etched in your
emotional selves. The scars always remain with us, but the love of God does too.
The Holy Spirit within us gives us the strength and courage to heal and remain
"soft and pliable" so that we are sensitive and responsive to the needs of
others. Indeed, Spirit-covered scars give us a bridge of understanding and
compassion for others who are in need of healing and companionship in their
Jesus showed his disciples his physical scars from his crucifixion. He led his disciples
on their journeys of sharing the Message through their lives, scars and
all. He leads and guides us as well.