Planting a tree requires planning and preparation. We expect any tree we plant to be with us for the long haul, to provide beauty and shade from the heat during the course of our lives. Accordingly, tree planting choices are ones we make carefully. In Southern New Mexico, such choices are also made prayerfully. Not many trees can survive in this soil, in this climate. Some do well. A few, with God’s help and proper preparation, really thrive. Those that do are popular in landscapes and in orchards. Tree planting anywhere is a long-term investment, with lots of nurturing along the way. Our Savior hung on a tree. The tree of life was there in the Garden of Eden. The tree of life will be there in the New Jerusalem.
“The plant of our next bishop is to be made carefully and prayerfully. With God’s help and proper preparation, the one planted here will thrive and enhance the entire landscape.”
Just as Jesus was familiar with trees, He was familiar with all kinds of soil. He knew his listeners were familiar with soil and always would be. No doubt we will still be using shovels when He returns! In His Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, Jesus compared four kinds of soil conditions with four kinds of people conditions. But the parable was only about the soil. It wasn’t about the seed or the sower or the harvest. In His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in the same chapter of Matthew, the seed in the field itself was contaminated by the enemy. But Jesus explained that the parable wasn’t about the seed. Nor was it about the soil or the soil conditions. It was only tangentially about the enemy’s work in counterfeiting. The parable was about how the plants, both good and bad, are to grow together until the harvest. Jesus explained the specific focus of both parables. Like in most of the others He set forth, it was one parable, one lesson. He kept things simple for our benefit. It wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost that His followers were able to put all the lessons together. Consequently, it is not for us to single out or unduly emphasize any one of them such that we lose sight of the others, and of the big picture, along the way.
Planting an Anglican diocese in the soil of the Southwest continues to be a long-term investment. Planning and preparation are ongoing. The plant of our next bishop is to be made carefully and prayerfully. With God’s help and proper preparation, the one planted here will thrive and enhance the entire landscape. The rest of the landscape will not be overshadowed but will be enabled. The Risen Lord will remain forever the centerpiece and will draw all men to Himself. It will be up to us – all of us – to fill in all around the landscape with shrubs and trees, shrubs as if from a mustard seed and trees as if planted near a stream. And the garden of the Southwest will bear spiritual fruit in abundance.
Rev. Frank K. WilsonAssociate Pastor - Church of the Epiphany, Cloudcroft, NM
Pictured here with his wife, and their beloved grandchildren at their Confirmations. Fr. Frank also enjoys bird watching and photography.