Tuesday, August 22, 2006

a tree's visit to a church

I've been in and out of airplanes, trains, and airports the past several weeks and had many, many hours to kill, so I finished Cellophane and got halfway through Talk Talk. The first 30-40 pages of Cellophane were a little slow moving and hard to wade through, but it picked up from there into the story of Don Victor Sobrevilla, an engineer intent on building a cellophane factory in the middle of the Amazon. The following excerpt begins with Don Victor's aunt telling him a story when he was a child about a rather mystical tree that began growing in a church:

"They hadn't planted it, they hadn't watered it, and yet there seemed to be something mystical about its visitation. Time passed and a crack appeared in the ceiling of the church where the branches pressed up against it. Some nights later, the monks awoke in their beds to the crash of falling plaster...Hurrying up the narrow stair, they witnessed the most marvelous thing of all: The tree was straining toward the sun, which was just peering over the rim of the mountain, and the church walls were as open as a broken eggshell, cleft, and gaping in awe...

A man-made thing, no matter how sacred we think it is, is nothing compared to a tree. Even a church is a mere structure like any other. In the face of magnificent creation, man's symbols are paltry things" (Arana, 41).

When I read that I thought--

A church building is nothing compared to the freely growing, organic, Life of the body of Christ. We who make up the Church, the Body, can be found reaching for the Light, and breaking down walls, inviting the Light to spread over all.

Isn't a tree such a beautiful image?


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