I bought a t-shirt today. I bought it because it was a rich and deep forest green, which has always been my favourite colour, especially when teamed up with the colour blue. (I figure God and I must have pretty much the same taste, because when I look around His world, especially during this verdant spring, that's what I see. Green hills, and blue sky. Everywhere. Those are the two predominant colours in his creation. I'm so glad he didn't decide to paint the sky purple and the hills orange. I think about these things, you know. They're pretty important in my little mind. And I like to tell God when I think he's done a really good job, too, just like Shug in the movie, The Colour Purple. Yes, when it comes to the colour scheme he chose for the world he created, sometimes as I'm drinking it all in, I just have to say, "Well, done God! Well, done!" )
The t-shirt I bought today has no blue on it, but emblazoned on the front is a much lighter shade of bright green in the shape of a globe. I think it's supposed to be the sun. And silhouetted against this huge bright green sun is a stalwart looking oak tree, it's intricate network of branches bare and exposed. It is beautiful in its intricate simplicity.
I love trees, too. Even if they weren't green, I think I'd still love them. All year round. However they come. Whether naked and exposed, a labrynth of black branches in contrast to a snowy landscape, blushing red with the swelling of buds in the the very early spring, fully dressed in the verdancy of summer, or in their brightly coloured autumn pyjamas almost ready to go back to sleep.
On the t-shirt, underneath the silhouette of the tree, in the same bright green, is printed "Matthew 12:33". I had no idea what that referred to, though I did guess it must have something to do with a tree. I looked it up as soon as I got home and my packages unloaded from the car:
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad." NLT
Hmmm. What makes some trees "good", and others "bad"? I hope I'm a good tree.
I read once that when you see the branches of a tree above the ground (think of those naked limbed winter silhouettes) you must realize that there is just as much of a network of roots below the ground, too. A network of roots which draws nutrients and water from the eath, doing its part to contribute to and to nourish the whole. I've been fascinated by that fact from the moment I first learned it, and often when looking at a tree, it doesn't stop for me at the bottom, where the trunk meets the ground. In my mind's eye, I can see the mirror image of another entire tree living quietly below the surface in the darkness, unexposed, safe from the storms and shifting weather conditions above. A secret upside down tree reaching around rock and pebble for nourishment and water in the soil.
A week or so ago, in my mad dash to catch up to my comrades in The Marathon of Biblical Proportions (I'm only 3 days behind, now! Pant! Pant!) a verse caught my attention and I wrote it down in my journal.
2 Kings 19:30. "The surviving remnant of Judah shall take root downward and bear fruit upward."
I immediately thought of my morning quiet times with God - my relationship in secret with him... "Do that in me, Lord", I wrote in my journal right beneath the transcribed verse.
Do that in me! Let those roots below the surface of what the world sees of me go deep in seeking out nourishment in the time I spend with you in the darkness of that early morning hour. Help me not to neglect my secret life - my most important life - my relationship with you. Let me reach around rock and pebble and to find the richest soil there. Guide me to your streams of living water. Water me. Feed me.
And the fruit? Ah, Lord, I have a feeling that as I grow downward into the rich soil of your Word, the fruit will just take care of itself. :o)