Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on Jun 17th, 2009
Hello Dear Friends of the Fellowship of the Blog,
When I woke up this morning, my number one “Blog-thought” was to share with you some thoughts on the “Sycamore Tree” rhyme.
First, though, I checked on those forthcoming blackberries of Dale’s that I mentioned in the “Mistress Mary” blog. (May archives.) Now, behold! his first bowl of plump, ripe blackberries appeared for breakfast today! (Thank you, Dale, for this sweet message from Heaven.)
Then another of Dale’s surprises awaited me after breakfast, via a box of photos of the 12th Century Turton Tower, taken in England. Who can see such a box without looking again at those wonderful memories!
The surprise was finding a sealed envelope at the bottom of the box marked, “Sycamore Tree seeds from Turton Tower, England. Dale must have gathered them on one of our visits there. My mother’s maiden name was Turton, so we always enjoy visiting that branch of our family tree. I smiled as I could almost hear him saying, “Better get on with the Sycamore Tree blog, my Love.” So, here goes!
The Bible story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-6) climbing a sycamore tree to get a better view of Jesus, is a favorite of children everywhere; perhaps because he was little, like they are.
Besides, children know trees are meant for climbing and tree houses! At least, that’s what our (then) four young boys decided when we moved to 20 acres outside of town. It didn’t matter that the log house there needed extensive remodeling, hubby Dale sided with the boys that the first project must be a tree house – a big one!
Then, with all the wood hauling, banging and commotion – enough to think they were building Noah’s Ark – with great gusto, a fine tree house appeared. Nevermind that all of the log house indoor remodeling languished, these other “essential” antics must proceed! Ah, but such is life with only one “Eve” and four little Adams with one big Adam now “up-a-tree.”
But these outdoor marvels of building brilliance did not stop there. Dale and his motley crew built the biggest tree swing in the entire valley. The seat was made from a solid oak plank with a hole drilled in the middle. A ship’s heavy hemp rope was inserted through the hole, then knotted to form a three-foot tail. Dale secured the long end to the safest, highest tree limb over 25 feet above the lawn. Wow! that three foot tail (which gave the swinger great leverage) could catapult the “swingee” on a trajectory of breathtaking fun. (Yes, even Mom was now “caught up” in all this rollicking whimsy)
Our tree swing was a pendulum of high flight that swung us higher than the tree itself! We even launched a few visiting missionary friends. (without losing any of them) And through it all, the big tree stood firm and resolute.
Thinking back to my own childhood, there were no trees on Nottingham Street where I was born in the city of Liverpool, England, so the black lamp post at the bottom of the street was my ‘tree.’ I first climbed it when I was only five, and sat on the cross-bar like Zacchaeus. Then suddenly, the local ‘bobby‘ (policeman) came by and, unlike the loving Savior, Jesus, Who was all ‘Grace,’ the Bobby was all ‘Law’ and ordered me down at once. I was terrified, but hung on to the cross-bar of that lamp post until he gave up. I would not come down.
As I write this, I see a foreshadowing of the time I would cling to the Cross of Christ as my only deliverance from the demands of God’s righteous Law – a Law that all of us have broken. But God gives us the answer in Galatians 3:24, “Therefore, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” And He assures us over and over, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9) Yes, the cry of Martin Luther still echoes down the hall of the Reformation: “The Just shall live by faith.”
Indeed, it is the amazing grace and love of God that bids us to come down from our perches of various heights in a “Sycamore” tree to fellowship with Jesus Who is the Tree of Life! It changed Zacchaeus’ life when he came down from his perch to follow Jesus. From being the chief tax collector of questionable ethics, he gave half of his wealth to the poor and restored four-fold to any man whom he had defrauded. What a way to balance the economy of his town! And isn’t it refreshing that Jesus didn’t whisk him off to a training seminar, but rather to sweet fellowship over supper.
Now, going back to Dale’s Sycamore seeds from the giant sycamore trees around the Turton Tower mansion (lots of lofty perches there); I think they would take root and grow in America. But I know Dale’s heart’s desire is to see this nation rooted and grounded in The Tree of Life: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Cheerio, for now and many Blessings to you all.
Christian Mother Goose®
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