If it Weren’t For the Tree

Our tree, I say “our tree” because this particular tree stands in Forest Rose Cemetery right at the Frear family plots. This tree signifies for us that this is where our family is buried, at least five generations. This tree is not the most beautiful, in fact it is actually two trees intertwined. You truly cannot miss it! We recently went to the cemetery to tend to the grave sites of my in laws, and Dave’s grandparents. We cleaned up the remnants of their winter grave blankets and did an overall inspection. Every time we visit there, I take a moment to admire this not so lovely tree. I make a mental note of how much it has changed over the seasons, and just how gigantic it has become. I would love to see photos of it from decades ago. Even as the years continue to pass, I hope this tree never has to be cut down. If it weren’t for the tree, would I remember as time goes by, where our family is? Will I be able to get someone there just by memory if they were to go visit the cemetery, if this tree were to be gone? One may never know.
Trees represent many things in Christianity. For example; other than God and people, trees are the most mentioned living thing in the Bible.
• Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.The land, produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12
• That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3.
• She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:18
• down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:2
These trees hold significance in the Bible:
• Fig: Despite the tree’s tragic beginning, luscious fig fruits were promised in plenty to the Israelites, a reflection of God’s grace to restore. Times of peace and security were marked by private citizens’ abundant fig cultivation. (Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. An olive tree sheltered owners from pressing sunshine and was a poetic expression of shalom, a Hebrew word conveying complete peace. Micah 4:4)
• Olive: A dove’s return with an olive leaf revealed God’s persistence to restore his people generously, a blessing. (And behold, the dove returned to him in the evening with a freshly plucked olive leaf in her beak. So Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. Genesis 8:11)
• Palm: In Bible times, the finest specimens grew at Jericho (which was known as the city of palm trees), Engedi, and along the banks of the Jordan. Palm branches symbolized; goodness, well-being, grandeur, steadfastness, and victory. King Solomon had palm branches carved into the walls and doors of the temple. (On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees from palms, willows and other leafy trees, and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Leviticus 23:40)
As Christians when we speak of Jesus’ crucifixion, we often refer to His cross as “a tree”, because it was fabricated from, a tree. Upon my research I found several articles claiming these three trees being used for the cross; cedar, pine, and cypress. There is no authoritative document stating what the cross was made of, it is therefore hard to verify its origins. The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that the cross on which Jesus was crucified was made using three types of wood. According to various accounts, remnants of the cross consisting of cedar, pine and cypress parts were retrieved after the burial of Christ. The cross is and will always be an important symbol in Christianity since it signifies the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Our savior was fully God and fully man. Our savior lived to walk the earth to bring healing, restoration and unity to the people. God sent Jesus here to dwell among us but also sentenced him to death on a tree, to save all mankind from a life of sin. A life that had separated man from a relationship with God. Can you even begin to fathom the life that we would have, if it weren’t for the tree?

Carol Frear