Living Witnesses

13 Nov

“The groves were God’s first temples.”  ~  William C. Bryant

We had Blest Art come to our parish this past weekend.  Blest Art is a company that sells olive wood carvings made by the Christians in the Holy Land.  This is something that they do to give the Christian community the dignity of labor.  They do not take contributions.  Instead, they ask you to make a purchase of the wood carvings so that the money can go back to the laborer.

I have had the opportunity to see the wood carvers on several occasions in the past years.  They treat the olive wood with great dignity and respect.  The olive wood used for the carvings always comes from branches that have fallen or from trees that have died.

They never cut down a living olive tree because of its meaning to them.  First of all, the olive tree produces olives, from which they have a source of income in selling olives or making olive oil.  Second, the olive trees are old, very old, and stand as witnesses to history.

If you ever enter the Garden of Gethsemane, you will see olive trees that were probably eye-witnesses to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  They were already hundreds of years old at the time of Christ.  Some olive trees have been recorded to be as old as three thousand years.

The groves, indeed, were God’s first temples.  God walked among His people until the fall.  In the grove, Jesus was handed over to soldiers to be tried.  In the groves, Christians sought refuge.  From the groves, Christians carve religious articles for people to remember God’s great love for them.

Nature has always pointed to God.  Its beauty lies in its simplicity, in its timeliness.  Nature does not hurry.  Nature is always around.  Nature has all the time in the world.  Nature serves as a living witness of God’s grandeur.  If we allow it to speak to us, nature can help soothe our weary souls and calm our tattered nerves.

FAITH ACTION:  Take a moment to look at all the beauty of nature surrounding you today and give thanks to God for the witness it gives to you.