Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Ministry of Trees to Shrubs

(Setting: UninhabitedDryland not far from Riverbank)

"Whew! It's hot and dry!" Green Tree shook the dust from his leaves with a swish and a shudder. "Time for another drink." The ground crackled as he stretched his roots imperceptibly deeper under the earth toward Riverbank. "Ahhhh!"

Parched Shrub, drooping nearby, tried to shake his brittle branch stubs and glared up at Green Tree whose leaves were verdant and healthy. "You think you're somebody special, don't you? If you were down here close to the hot sand you wouldn't act so high and mighty."

"We're in it together, friend," replied Green Tree surprised. "My roots are in the same dry desert. Besides, I'm up here closer to the sun and that's even hotter."

"Well, I'm waiting for Mortal Man to water me. He promised to come when I needed him. He’ll probably arrive by Prosperity Bus anytime now," mumbled Parched Shrub.

“How late is it?”

"Oh, a few months, give or take a few weeks."

"We live in Uninhabited Salt Land," reminded Green Tree. "Did you forget? Prosperity Bus only goes along the Goodtimes route now."

Parched Shrub was silent for a long while. Only his wheezing breath broke the stillness of the desert. Finally, "How do you get along so well through the drought? I even see fruit up there in your dense foliage."

"My hope is in Lord God," replied Green Tree. "He told us when He planted us that we shouldn't trust in Mortal Man. He said He would look after us Himself and never forsake us. He...."

"There you go being preachy again," coughed Parched Shrub. "You Green Trees are all alike. You think you're better than everyone else—some kind of special apples in God's eye."

"That's not true. Lord God doesn't play favorites or keep secrets. He told all of us Greenery Things where to send our roots, you included."

"Aw, I just don't trust 'im. I gave up that God-stuff when I was little."

You're still little," observed Green Tree with a little smile, not intending offense. "I started out as small as you are. You too can...."

"Don’t rub it in!" Parched Shrub interrupted, pretending to be angry, but one hot tear trickled down his bare branch, splashed on the sand and rapidly soaked in.

Green Tree was moved with compassion. He bent his chlorophyll-laden leafy branches low over Parched Shrub. "Come under my shadow, friend. I'll shelter you from the hot sun. It's really not far under the desert to stretch your own roots to Riverbank. You can do it! I know you can. Lord God pointed us in the direction of water."

Parched Shrub snuggled under Green Tree's luxurious foliage. "You'd help me? Even though I’ve made fun of you and turned away from Lord God so many times? Do you think there's enough water for both of us?"

"Absolutely! Lord God said that rivers of living water, cool and pure, flow nearby."

"Oh, I'm dying of thirst!"

"Come on then. Come to The Waters."

"How much does the water cost?"

"Nothing! Lord God already paid for it. It's free now!"

"Let's go then," Parched Shrub's prickly stubs stirred with new hope. "Don't leave me, though. Show me the way...."


A personified allegory based on Jeremiah 17:5-8 from various translations and versions of Scripture. Also reflective of Psalm 1:1-6; Revelation 22:17; Isaiah 55:1.

"Thus says the Lord, cursed is the strong man who trusts in mankind, in frail, mortal man, and makes weak, human flesh his strength, and whose heart and mind turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a bush or stunted shrub in the desert, like a person naked and destitute, with no hope for the future. He will not see when prosperity comes and good times pass him by forever. But he will live in stony wastes, in parched places in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitants.

"But most blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope and confidence are in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, along a riverbank, that extends its roots by a stream, and will not be bothered when heat comes, nor anxious in a year of drought, but goes right on producing luscious fruit."

Leona Choy


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